Led by the convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout, right-wing extremists from the Workers’ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti – DSSS) and other neo-Nazi groups, 300 – 400 people marched through Ústí nad Labem today. The anti-Romani gathering was convened by locals, allegedly to support the rights of “decent” citizens against “the parasitism of inadaptables.”
The crowd did not deviate from its planned route. At one place, neo-Nazis and approximately 10 opponents of neo-Nazism and racism yelled at one another. As many as 50 police officers kept them apart. Two demonstrators wore neo-Nazi slogans on their coats.
There were 100 state police officers, 100 municipal police, and members of an anti-conflict team deployed on the streets of the town. A police helicopter flew overhead and mounted police and police dogs were also on standby.
Several promoters of the DSSS arrived in town carrying flags. The gathering started with speeches by the organizers on the square: Convener Milan Sůra, right-wing extremists from the DSSS, and convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout, who has convened similar marches in Varnsdorf. The crowd then marched through the town. The organizers planned the route to lead from Mírové Square down Velká Hradební street to the Hotel Vladimír, returning to Lidické náměstí along Masarykova street. Along the way, people chanted the slogan “Stop Black Racism” and nationalist slogans such as “Bohemia for the Czechs” or “Nothing but the Nation”. They bore banners referencing the attacks allegedly committed by Romani people in Nový Bor and Rumburk, which sparked the recent unrest the neo-Nazis are now exploiting.
Right-wing extremists from the DSSS and convicted con artist Lukáš Kohout occupied the head of the march. “That is exactly what the initiator of this event probably didn’t want. It looks like the protest has gotten away from his control and party members have taken over this initiative,” a reporter for Czech daily Mf DNES said.
An incident occurred at a point along the march route near a closed-down restaurant where local anarchists usually meet. They had hung a banner on the building reading “Nationalism is kitsch” which the marchers tore down. About 10 opponents of neo-Nazis and racism had to be separated from the protesting crowd by about 50 special forces police. The groups shouted at one another for several minutes before the crowd continued its march without further clashes. After roughly an hour and a half, the conveners of the march officially ended it on Lidické Square and people started to disperse.
Police detained two ultra-right radicals for interrogation. “They were wearing illegal slogans on their coats, but it’s too early to say whether they have committed a crime or a misdemeanor,” said Jarmila Hrubešová, spokesperson for the Ústí police. News server iDNES.cz reports that the men were wearing the English-language phrase “Blood and Honor”, the name of an originally British neo-Nazi organization established in 1987 by a singer with the Nazi band Skrewdriver, Ian Stuart. The name was taken from the battle cry of the Hitler Youth. The group defines itself as a “Nationalist Revolutionary Movement” espousing the legacy of the Third Reich.
Early this morning, police discovered and removed a cache of paving stones and wooden tool-handles in a cellar along the march route. Mounds of paving stones were also found on Velká hradební street. Before noon, police also arrested a man armed with a machete. Vladimír Danyluk, the head of the Ústí nad Labem territory, said police had been monitoring all access roads to the town since morning but did not discover any more weapons.
At 13:30, a similar rally was held in Varnsdorf (Děčín district), where people were protesting for the ninth weekend in a row. Police spokesperson Daniel Vítek said the situation in the town was completely calm. About 150 people met on the town square, but did not march anywhere. The conveners of the demonstration once again criticized the Mayor of Varnsdorf, Martin Louka.