Česky English Deutsch Francais
Neo-Nazis clash with police in Litvínov
18-11-2008 - Jan Velinger
On Monday the Czech Republic witnessed some of its worst street violence in recent memory when hundreds of right-wing extremists in the north Bohemian town of Litvínov clashed with Czech police. In the incident, Neo-Nazis veered away from a planned march and attempted to attack a nearby Roma suburb, highlighting long-growing tensions between the local Roma and non-Roma community. The battle lasted some three hours and led to several arrests and more than a dozen injuries.

Photo: CTK Monday, November the 17th, Litvínov: smoke, thrown bottles, tear gas. Scenes of chaos and violence came to the fore as police struggled to subdue the most aggressive demonstrators, some of them badly bloodied. Radicals from around the Czech Republic, many of them supporters of the ultra-right Workers’ Party had gathered in Litvínov for a planned protest march; their attempt to storm the neighbourhood of Janov, largely populated by Roma residents, set off the three-hour battle. Police in riot gear, some of them on horseback, had been given the strictest orders to prevent Neo-Nazis from breaking through and in the end they succeeded. Nonetheless, it was one of the ugliest clashes involving the far-right, says Zdeněk Zbořil, a political scientist specialising in extremist movements. He himself was at the scene:

Photo: CTK “It was worse in person than on TV because many locals joined the right-wing extremists. There were about 500 ultra right-wingers but together with the locals there were maybe more than 1,200. They left in the final push for Janov, but showed support for the extremists until then. They said that it was impossible to live next to the Roma, and that there was absolutely no communication between the communities. So, things have really escalated and in a way it’s ‘too late’. I’ve seen demonstrations were radicals used the Hitler salute, but this is the first time I’ve seen such support from locals – this was something different.”

Photo: CTK Experts have been warning for years about growing right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic, but radical political groups like the Workers’ Party have so-far failed to make inroads into national politics. That doesn’t mean they don’t have support in poorer or troubled areas, like in parts of Litvínov, where tension between the Roma and non-Roma population has increased. Some 300 Roma, were reportedly prepared to defend their turf on Monday with sticks, while some of their would-be attackers were armed not only with cobblestones, but also knuckle-dusters and other items. Had riot police not intervened, uncovering dozens of weapons beforehand, the scenes of violence could have been much worse. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry is considering implementing a ban on the Workers’ Party but not all agree such a decision would be a good thing. Political scientist Zdeněk Zbořil once again:

Photo: CTK “In many ways banning them is the worst thing you can do because you lose control to see what the extremists are doing. A ban only drives them underground and makes them much more difficult to monitor. And it doesn’t bring an end to their activities: they only re-group and come back under a new name.”

A decision on the Workers’ Party could come later this week.

Related articles
01.08.2017Romany rapper Radek Banga to receive František Kriegel Award for civic courageNews
17.11.2013Ring-wing extremists, opponents gather in PragueNews
19.10.2013Over 300 take part in anti-Roma demonstration in OstravaNews
04.07.2013České Budějovice braces for more violence as new anti-Roma demo calledNews
07.10.2012Right-wing extremists demonstrate in ÚstíNews
27.09.2012Jakub Polák, doyen of the Czech anarchist scene, dies aged 60News
07.03.2012Study warns of possible new attacks against Roma as neo-Nazi movement gains tractionNews
14.02.2012Police crack down on women’s branch of Czech neo-Nazi movementNews
16.08.2011Hardbass – we will bring Heil Hitler to your homeNews
All related articles
Format for printing
Send as e-mail

Also in section "News"
31.10.19  Roma children’s choir Chavorenge and members of the Czech Philharmonic to perform in UK
13.09.19  Archaeologists discover graves of Roma persecuted during WWII in Lety camp
02.06.19  Ida Kelarová and her Romany children’s choir Chavorenge
29.05.19  Two Roma activists to receive Charter 77’s František Kriegel Award
07.04.19  Romany music from the Czech Republic
13.03.19  Czech singer Věra Bílá, dubbed the Ella Fitzgerald of Gypsy music, dies days before her comeback tour
21.11.18  Roma social worker from Ostrava listed on BBC 100 Women list
12.10.18  Why are there so few Roma politicians?
17.09.18  Virtuoso pianist Tomáš Kačo: When I tell somebody I’m a Gypsy in the US, they’re excited about it
06.06.18  Study indicates ethnic hate is contagious
Archive of the section

Most popular articles
3153053   26.02.00 Some Basic Information about the Roma Population in the Czech Republic
290319   27.01.05 The 'Devouring': A look at the Romani Holocaust
184516   26.02.00 The History and Origin of the Roma
141463   26.02.02 The Language of the Roma
107706   13.06.00 The History of the Roma Minority in the Czech Republic
105260   26.02.00 The Traditional Family Life of the Czech Roma
103929   02.06.03 The Roma Holocaust
88238    World famous Roma Personalities
88174   21.02.04 Extreme right activists demonstrate for skinhead in jail
74801    Photographs by Romani Children
Copyright © Český rozhlas / Czech Radio, 1997-2020
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic