České Budějovice braces for more violence as new anti-Roma demo called
The city of České Budějovice in South Bohemia is bracing for more violent anti-Roma protests this weekend, and police fear they could attract neo-Nazi skinheads from both the Czech Republic and abroad. Last Saturday an anti-Romany demonstration was followed by an unannounced march to the local Máj housing estate, home to about 350 Romanies. Around a dozen people were injured as marchers clashed with riot police.
Police have been criticised for their handling of both the demonstration and the march that followed – local people can be heard on video footage shouting ‘black bastards’ before the unannounced march set off towards the housing estate, but a local police spokesman claimed the epithet was aimed at them, not at Roma citizens. The march itself saw neo-Nazis giving the Hitler salute and shouting racist slogans, cheered on – and then joined by - local residents.
There have been no further incidents since Saturday but police are on high alert – a number of Facebook pages have sprung up advertising an event variously described as “A Demonstration Against Black Racism”, “A Demonstration Against Non-Adaptable Citizens” and simply “A Walk Through České Budějovice”. Police fear a second demonstration could attract hundreds of far-right extremists from the Czech Republic and even neighbouring countries. The mayor of the city has called on people not to join forces with the skinheads; certainly, the city is bracing for trouble.