Workers' Party files criminal complaint for being featured in Interior Ministry's extremism manual


A new handbook commissioned by the Interior Ministry is currently being distributed to police stations around, the country to help the force identify extremist organisations. The manual contains brief descriptions of symbols and introduces police officers to whether their use on clothes and posters etc is legal. The ministry has printed 15,000 copies and, as Dita Asiedu reports, already faces a lawsuit:

A black D and a black S in a red toothed circle, that's the symbol of the Delnicka Strana, or the Workers' Party. In the police manual on extremism, it is featured right next to that of an ultranationalist organisation and under the symbol of the Ku Klux Klan. But the party insists that its logo has no place in a handbook on extremism and accuses the ministry of disseminating false information. The party's chairman Tomas Vandas explains why:

"Our legally registered party was put on a par with organisations that are considered criminal. That's mainly because we have views that are not popular, that go against the current, so to speak. We reject the European Union, the European Constitution, we prefer a national state, a sovereign Czech Republic, we reject immigrants, we reject a multi-cultural society, we also reject homosexual partnerships that are put on a par with traditional marriage. So that is why we think we have been ranked among the so-called extremists."

Miroslav Mares is the author of the handbook:

"What's important is that the Workers' Party is in the regular report on extremism that has been prepared by the interior ministry but one of its authors is also the central intelligence service. That is why put this party's symbol into the manual. However, this is not a list of prohibited symbols. The aim of this manual is to help the police get oriented within the extremist scene."

You say that we're witnessing a transformation from primitive neo-Nazism to a more sophisticated form...

"Primitive neo-Nazism is the direct support of the historical Nazism through primitive violent acts against the Roma, for example. But the more sophisticated neo-Nazism is the transformation of the movement to the new organising structures and that is why I am using this manual to inform about the new development of symbolism, it is not only about the traditional historical symbols, but also about the new symbols of the so-called 'autonomous nationalism' which is a new concept of neo-Nazism that has its roots in Germany."

Experts on extremism say the Workers' Party is an organised movement that has close ties with neo-Nazis. Its logo is also similar to that of Germany's Labour Front and the Hammerskins Nation organisation. Whether the Workers' Party's symbol has been rightfully included in the manual on extremism will have to be decided in court. The party has filed a criminal complaint against the interior ministry and is demanding both an apology and its removal from the manual.