An unannounced march, characterized by anti-Ukrainian and anti-government sentiments, made its way through the heart of Plzeň on a Saturday afternoon under the supervision of law enforcement. Approximately 100 individuals convened at the location, and the event concluded without any untoward incidents, with the protestors dispersing around 3:30 pm.
The demonstrators converged at Plzeň’s central train station at 2 pm in response to appeals circulated on social media. These appeals emerged following reports of an 18-year-old Ukrainian male who, the previous Tuesday, sexually assaulted and attempted to murder a girl three years his junior within the city. Authorities clarified that he was not a refugee and had been residing in the Czech Republic for an extended period.
The assembly of dissenters, bearing several Czech flags and accompanied by an anti-riot contingent, proceeded along Americká třída to náměstí Republiky (Republic Square) by 2:30. During the march, the crowd voiced slogans including “Go home!”, “This is our home!” and “We’ve had enough!” At approximately 3:30, the demonstrators dispersed in front of City Hall.
Reasons for Participation
Inquiring about their motivations, one protester, Karel, who was accompanied by his wife and stroller, stated, “To prevent Ukrainians from harming our children and to see them leave our country. It’s unbearable.” When queried whether he would be present if the assault had been committed by a Czech individual, he affirmed, “Yes.” Another participant, David, chimed in, “Czech boys attend schools or apprenticeships and shoulder responsibilities, whereas Ukrainian boys seem to lack such obligations, merely idling around.”
Zdeněk, present at the march, emphasized the privileges that Ukrainians purportedly possess but Czechs do not. He contended that they were burdening pensioners and mothers with children. His primary concern, however, lay with the government’s actions. “It’s mainly the government that has driven me to be here. Their actions are palpable,” he remarked.
Roman Zarzycký (ANO), the mayor of Plzeň, acknowledged the nonviolent nature of the gathering. “I’m pleased that the people of Plzeň, while retaining their right to protest, did not significantly engage in the demonstration,” Zarzycký conveyed to Právo.
Addressing the anti-Ukrainian undertones, he asserted, “Collective guilt cannot be assigned. Although the incident was horrendous, the protest would not have yielded constructive outcomes. The perpetrator has been apprehended and is presently in secure custody.”
The Detained Perpetrator
The catalyst for the entire episode transpired the previous Tuesday evening in the Doubravka district. The victim was acquainted with the young man and consented to a stroll near the river. However, the assailant led her into a nearby woodland, bound her hands, gagged her, and subjected her to sexual assault. Subsequently, he inflicted further injuries and issued threats of violence, as detailed by police spokesperson Michaela Raindlova.
Subsequent to the assault, the attacker ensconced the victim within a sack, hurled her off a precipice into the woods, and departed the scene. The girl’s feigned death seemingly spared her life. She subsequently sought aid independently and was hospitalized for her injuries.
Within a few hours of the crime, law enforcement apprehended the teenager. The perpetrator faced charges of attempted murder and rape, ultimately being placed in custody.