Police are checking speeches from anti-immigrant rally

Prague, July 7 (CTK) – The speakers from a demonstration against immigrants held in Prague on July 1 might have committed a crime of defamation of race or nation or threatening with the aim of influencing an executive body, Police Presidium spokesman Jozef Bocan told CTK Tuesday.

Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said the police were checking the speeches of two people.

The police were criticised for not intervening against the protesters who carried symbolic gallows for “traitors.” Chovanec had called on the police to explain why they did not intervene. He said racist and xenophobic actions must not be tolerated.

The police only intervened against a sit-in protest of a small group of immigration supporters blocking the way of the nationalist demonstrators who planned to march to the government building. Four of the pro-immigration activists were arrested.

The result of the check of the steps that the police took during the demonstration will be known next week.

Police President Tomas Tuhy said he saw the videos of the demonstration and agreed with Chovanec that such manifestations are no part of democracy.

Tuhy said the police documented the demonstration and they drew the conclusions several days afterwards. “This may be more tactical sometimes,” he said.

During the demonstration against immigration, Islam and the European Union, populist politician Tomio Okamura, heavy metal singer Ales Brichta and far-right journalist Adam Bartos delivered speeches, among others, calling for the closing of the borders, leaving the EU and resignation of the government.

Bartos said in reaction that symbolic gallows were an adequate expression of opposition to the government in the situation when the national security is threatened.

Bocan said a police analysis showed that the line between the freedom of expression, the freedom of assembly and their exceeding are not set clearly enough.

Apart from the police, demonstrations are supervised by the local authorities that may dissolve the gathering. Experts or state attorney are sometimes present who decide whether any crime was possibly committed.

Chovanec said he wanted similar situations not to be repeated rather than punish police officers for any individual failure.

He said the attitude of the police at demonstrations must change because some people in the country abuse sensitive issues.