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Police investigate incident in Zeman’s staff as breach of peace

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Prague, Jan 28 (CTK) – A journalist filed a legal complaint on Sunday in the case of the Saturday skirmish between people from re-elected President Milos Zeman’s staff and reporters and the police are investigating the incident on suspicion of breach of peace, police spokeswoman Andrea Zoulova announced on Sunday.

She did not rule out that the legal qualification may be extended or changed during the investigation.

The Prague police have been dealing with the incident since the Saturday night when information on it and video recordings of the clash appeared on social networks and in the media.

Some video shots indicate that bodily harm and property damage may have been committed during the incident, Zoulova said on the police website.

A clash between people from Zeman’s election staff and reporters occurred in Prague’s Top Hotel after Zeman left on Saturday night. The reporters were shooting and photographing the collapse of a man in the hotel who was treated by the Prague Emergency Service later.

People from Zeman’s team were ordering the reporters out of the room, attacking them physically and calling them names, shows a video recording that Seznam Zpravy server reporter Pavlina Kosova released on Twitter.

Two men from the Zeman staff assaulted the reporters shooting the man’s collapse. They threw down one reporter’s camera to the ground, attacked another journalist with fists, physically assaulted Kosova and forced one reporter out of the room.

The Prague Emergency Service was called to the Top Hotel to help the man, its medical staff examined him and then transported to hospital.

The organisers did not solve the clash with journalists, according to CTK sources.

The movement of journalists was monitored mainly before Zeman’a arrival and during his stay in the Top Hotel. Afterwards, journalists were moving freely on the premises and could get to the rooms that were designated only for the guests from Zeman’s supporters where the incident occurred.

The man, who attracted the reporters’ attention, had a heart attack, he collapsed when drinking alcohol, one of the participants in the event, Jan Solta, told CTK Sunday.

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) NGO called on the supreme Czech representatives on Sunday to condemn the Saturday physical violence against journalists by members of Zeman’s staff, saying this has noting to do in democracy.

Former PM and current deputy Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) condemned the attack on journalists on Twitter on Sunday. Neither verbal nor physical attacks on reporters and their families are acceptable and in no case they can be justified by the post-election euphoria, he tweeted.

“Journalists must be able to do their work freely and without fear, this is an important condition of democracy functioning,” Sobotka wrote.

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