Police in the Czech Republic generally protect both peaceful protesters and counter-demonstrators, reflecting the strong legal protections for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly which are in place.
On 15th and 16th December 2017, several hundred predominantly left-wing activists protested against a meeting of representatives of European anti-immigration parties in the Czech capital, Prague. Police took heightened security measures during the meeting which included prominent far-right leaders such as Marine Le Pen and Gert Wilders. The meeting was hosted by the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party (SPD) which promotes an anti-immigration agenda and won almost 11 percent in the Czech Republic’s recent elections.
As Czech news outlet Romea.cz reported, the SPD leader Tomio Okamura apparently published false information on his Facebook profile, alleging that one of the participants at the above-mentioned meeting was assaulted by some of the protesters. Protest organisers, however, objected to the allegations. Video footage of the protests by Internet television station DVTV did not document any such alleged assaults.
Ondřej Mirovský, co-chair of the Green Party, objected to Czech taxpayers having to cover the costs of protecting the far-right meeting participants, stating that:
“I reject the idea that the taxpayers have to cover the costs of the comfort and safety of people who deny the Holocaust, who reject human solidarity, and who glorify ultra-nationalism. The organizer of this event, Tomio Okamura, should bear the cost”.
Originally published on CIVICUS Monitor
Featured image Martin Divisek/European Pressphoto Agency