Police raid right-wing extremists in at least three cities|
Police carried out raids on right-wing radicals in three or more cities
early Wednesday morning and may have arrested at least seven individuals.
The Czech Police have provided little information on the raids, stating only
that the operations were underway in Prague, České Budějovice and Hodonín
and were the result of long-term investigations. A lawyer for some of the
alleged arrestees claimed that up to 14 may have been detained in house
searches stemming from concerts organised by extremist groups. In his
opinion, the police are searching for links between fascist groups and the
extreme right-wing Workers’ Party, which the government is requesting be
banned by the Supreme Administrative Court.
Workers’ Party demonstrates against raids
The Workers’ Party organised a demonstration of roughly 100 people Wednesday
evening to protest the raids near the Office of the Government in Prague.
Some 25 police officers and a public order squad were present to monitor the
protestors, who they barred from approaching the building. After a half an
hour the demonstration marched under police escort to the police department
where some of those detained in the morning raids are being held.
Police crackdowns on extremism increasing
The raids point to a growing police crackdown on right-wing extremists. Over
the course of 2009 police have made arrests connected with the Czech
Republic’s relatively strict anti-fascism laws on nine occasions. Only two
incidents involving extremists resulted in arrests in 2008. Most recently
police detained 14 individuals in connection with a brutal arson attack on a
Roma family last spring, and 26 were arrested in separate incidents during
early June. The charge of promoting a movement for the suppression of human
rights and hate speech in the Czech Republic can carry up to eight years in