Česky English Deutsch Francais
Top court rejects government’s petition to ban extremist Workers’ Party
The Supreme Administrative Court on Wednesday rejected a petition by the Czech government to ban the far-right Workers’ Party. The court said the cabinet had not provided sufficient evidence that the small extremist group - which first made headlines last year when its supporters staged a march on a Romany ghetto - posed a real threat to democracy. The verdict was applauded by the party, but probably by few others. The Czech government will now have to bring more proof to support its position, or come up with different ways of dealing with right-wing extremism.

Workers’ Party leader Tomáš Vandas, photo: CTK When presiding Judge Vojtěch Šimíček of the Supreme Administrative Court read the verdict refusing to ban the extremist Workers’ Party on Wednesday, its supporters applauded and unravelled a party banner right in the courtroom.

It took the judge more than one hour to justify the ruling, but the reasoning was simple enough: the government had failed to provide sufficient evidence that the far-right grouping posed a genuine threat to democracy. Judge Šimíček had this to say:

“The government produced no evidence of the radicalization of the party’s activities with the ultimate goal of seizing power through non-democratic means, or of its violation of the Right to Assembly Act. The proceedings before this court did not show that the Workers’ Party’s activities, as documented by the government, provide reasons to dissolve it.”

The Workers’ Party made international news in November, when several hundred neo-Nazi skinheads, party sympathizers, staged a march on a Romany ghetto in the northern town of Litvínov, an attempt that in ended in a pitched battle with the police. The government responded by petitioning the Supreme Administrative Court to ban the party. But Wednesday’s verdict gave the party members a reason to celebrate. Tomáš Málek is the head of the Workers’ Party Brno branch.

“No, there’s not going to be any march today, we’ll just go and get together somewhere, to talk things over. We are extremely happy with the verdict but we were sort of counting on it. The government’s proposal was based on absolutely irrelevant arguments, so we were very confident.”

Photo: CTK The verdict is a major setback for the government in its stance on extremism. While the Workers’ Party is relatively small, with some 600 members, its activities have gained a certain momentum. In 2006, the party won three seats in two municipal councils. The party’s strategy is straightforward – offering hard-line approaches to growing racial tensions with the country’s Romany minority. Miroslav Mareš is an expert on extremism at Brno’s Masaryk University.

“I think that there is no evidence of the Workers’ Party posing a really serious threat to democracy. So I believe that the main problem now will be to find evidence that concrete members of the Workers’ Party are involved in violent or neo-Nazi activities.”

The party can now enjoy its victory and all the media attention. If the government hopes to crack down on them in the future, it will have to come back with solid evidence. Or it can try and deprive the party of support by moving racial tension and other social issues much higher up on its list of priorities.

Related articles
25.11.2014Social Democrat leadership up in arms over local government coalition with ultra-right partyNews
25.11.2014Political commentator Jiří Pehe: Duchcov coalition could seriously damage the Social DemocratsNews
17.11.2013Ring-wing extremists, opponents gather in PragueNews
07.11.2013Intelligence service report: corruption and economic problems are fuelling extremismNews
07.10.2012Right-wing extremists demonstrate in ÚstíNews
14.02.2012Police crack down on women’s branch of Czech neo-Nazi movementNews
11.01.2012Extremist lawyer claims judicial expert biased because of Jewish backgroundNews
12.09.2011Police intervene in attack of far-right extremists and locals against Romany housing unit in VarnsdorfNews
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, 1997-2023
Vinohradská 12, 120 99 Praha 2, Czech Republic