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Minister: Police handled Prague refugee-related rallies well

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Prague, Feb 20 (CTK) – The Czech police coped with the recent Prague demonstrations against Islam and in support of refugees, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec told journalists on Saturday, adding that on Monday he will release the results of a check ordered after the police work was challenged.

“After all, it can be said that the police coped with it,” Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

He nevertheless admitted that “small excesses” occurred during the demonstrations on February 6 and said the excesses would be presented at the press conference.

The police were criticised for not intervening against a masked group that attacked a march of left-wing activists in the centre of the city.

Chovanec said the action of the masked rioters looked like a targeted provocation. The police would hopefully be able to prove that somebody else than the police was behind the provocation, he said in reaction to suspicions that the masked attackers were policemen or that a police officer controlled the violent group, which appeared on social networks.

Among the critics of the police was Justice Minister Robert Pelikan (ANO) who pointed out that street protesters are not allowed to have their faces covered and to carry weapons. Pelikan said it was a failure that the police did not take action against the masked attackers. The officer who commanded the police actions should bear responsibility, he added.

Pelikan will take part in the press conference on Monday, too, Chovanec said.

He said the police officer about whose unwillingness to help the public Czech Radio (CRo) complained unfortunately has not been identified yet.

CRo workers said the policeman refused to take action against participants in a rally against Islam who tried to break into the outside broadcasting van and who eventually switched off the van’s source of energy.

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