Brown shirts attack Prague anarchists

Wednesday, June 19, 1991

By Slavina Novak and Adam Novak

PRAGUE — There were a number of serious injuries when a peaceful demonstration here was attacked by young rightists. This followed an attack by police on a similar protest.

Several weeks ago, two anarchist high school students were arrested while demonstrating outside the Universal Czechoslovak Exhibition. The police had been called by exhibition organisers anxious to rid themselves of the noisy demonstrators, who see the display as an expensive showroom for the new Czechoslovakia, with as much substance as a Potemkin village.

The demonstration of around 100 high school students and young apprentices had been called by anarchist groups in Prague who reject what is basically a display of pro-capitalist propaganda and a pathetic attempt to attract foreign capital. Police violently assaulted the young people, several of whom were injured.

On May 30 around 100 young people responded to the anarchists' call for another demonstration to reiterate their opposition to the exhibition and to protest the police brutality. They were also calling for charges against the two students to be dropped. Overwhelmingly, the call by organisers for no arms and therefore no pretext for the cops was respected by the demonstrators.

All hope of a peaceful assembly was destroyed, however, when in the first minutes, a group of 50 thugs, heavily armed with beer bottles, nunmchakas and batons made a well-organised attack against the demonstrators. In the hectic brawl that followed, both sides suffered serious injuries.

The police, always so ready to intervene against the anarchists, were this time quite slow to arrive. When they did, they first arrested several anarchists. "If I had seen such an incident two years ago, I would have concluded the [attackers] had been employed by the police", commented Jiri Exner, the deputy mayor of Prague.

The police reaction is symptomatic of a tendency over the last few months to ignore racist, homophobic and anti-left aggression while exercising tighter and tighter controls over the anarchists. By allowing time for the rightists to attack the young and generally politically inexperienced demonstrators, the police intended to put a stop to any left movement which might not be satisfied to confine itself to closed discussion circles.

The attackers, as young as the anarchists and including several women in their ranks, sported fascist insignia, the German flag

with the words "Deutschland über alles" and US military uniforms. They say they want to "clean" Prague's streets of "all vermin" — Gypsies, strikers, leftists, homosexuals and apparatchicks.

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