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Police say only FAMU incident with Tibetan flag regarded as breach of rules during Chinese visit

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Prague, April 14 (CTK) – The only mistake the Czech police made within security measures adopted during the March visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prague concerned the inquiry about the hoisted Tibetan flags at the Film School, police officer Michaela Hybnerova told journalists yesterday.
An internal police check has not revealed any other mistake, said Hybnerova, from the police section responsible for the check.
She confirmed that the two police officers who ordered the inquiry about the Tibetan flags hoisted by the Film School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) faced disciplinary proceedings.
Police President Tomas Tuhy apologised to the Film School on Monday.
“I am glad that the police openly admitted their mistake during their action related to Tibetan flags at the Film School,” Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said on Twitter.
“I hope nothing similar would be repeated,” Sobotka added.
Tuhy said the police definitely did not fail during the Chinese visit.
Deputy Police President Martin Vondrasek said the police were maximally reserved and professional in all the cases. He said it was sometimes very hard to keep calm.
Vondrasek said the police had never forced entry in people’s homes.
The police were criticised for seizing Tibetan flags that people had in their windows.
Vondrasek said this occurred only in two cases.
Tuhy rejected the criticism for not allowing participants in an officially announced rally to enter a square outside the Prague Castle where Czech President Milos Zeman received Xi Jinping.
Tuhy said the square was closed to the public for security reasons also during the visits of the American and Russian presidents in the past.
Participants in a rally against violations of human rights in China protested that they were denied access to the square.
Tuhy dismissed the information that the police received orders on the spot from people like Zeman’s office head Vratislav Mynar.
Right-wing opposition leader Miroslav Kalousek (TOP 09) repeatedly criticised the closure of the square. “Unfortunately, the police press conference was a pack of awkward excuses and deliberate lies. Its protagonists deepened the distrust of the police,” he said on Twitter.
Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (CSSD) supported the police on Twitter. He said the measures adopted outside Prague Castle were appropriate.
“The instructions for the deployed police officers clearly show that there was no central order to side with Chinese activists,” Chovanec said.
He said previously he will resign from the post of interior minister if the opposite is proved.
Hybnerova said the police received three complaints from people affected by the security measures and 24 motions filed by indirect participants based on news from media.
She said the internal check dealt with four incidents that occurred on the main road from the airport to the city’s centre, along which the Chinese delegation drove.
One of the incidents is still being investigated, she said, adding that the conflict was related to a refusal of a police order to leave a given area.
The three other incidents concerned activists chained to lampposts, a skirmish between Chinese supporters of Xi and a group of locals, and the arrest of a man carrying a Tibetan flag among pro-Chinese activists, Hybnerova said. The police procedures were correct in these cases, she said.
Hybnerova said it was legitimate that a Tibetan flag was removed near the Hilton Hotel where the Chinese delegation stayed. A rapid reaction police officer responsible for the security of the hotel ordered the removal, she said. It played no role whether the flag was Tibetan, Chinese or Czech, she added.
Chovanec said there was only one incident with Tibetan flags that resulted in the launching of criminal proceedings and it concerned a Chinese citizen who had taken a Tibetan flag from an anti-China protester. The foreigner probably committed an offence, he said.
Chovanec confirmed the information that the inspection body of the security forces (GIBS) investigated police officers suspected of detaining a student who criticised the security measures and then verbally and physically attacked him.
This case must be dealt with in a very serious and a very resolute manner, he said.
The Police Presidium said the security measures introduced during the Chinese visit cost approximately 16 million crowns. About a thousand of police officers guaranteed Xi’s security every day.
($1=23.923 crowns)

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