Far-right militants march in Czech town

20th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Some 1,250 police officers, including 750 riot police, were mobilised, said police colonel Oldrich Zeman, in a security operation that included the seizure of guns, knives and baseball bats.

Usti Nad Labem -- Nearly 500 far-right militants from the Czech Republic and Germany rallied late Saturday to mark the 64th anniversary of punishing Allied air raids on this city.

No serious incidents were seen, as police kept a close eye on the protest that critics branded a pretext for marking Monday's birth anniversary of Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Police said they averted possible clashes between the neo-Nazis and some 200 counter-demonstrators, mainly anarchists.

"Police will be on the alert all night," regional police spokeswoman Jarmila Hrubesova told AFP but would not give a figure of those arrested.

Most of the participants were young people dressed in black. They began their rally with speeches in Lidice Square, named in memory of a Czech village where German forces massacred all 192 menfolk in a June 1942 atrocity.

The protest was comparable to "a dance of the assassins, on the mass grave" of the victims of Nazism, said Miroslav Broz, a member of a local group opposed to the presence of neo-Nazis in Usti nad Labem.

Two months ago, nearly 6,000 neo-Nazis paraded through nearby Dresden, across the border in eastern Germany, to mark the Allied bombing of that city on February 13-14, 1945. Police made several dozen arrests.

Historians say Allied air raids on Usti nad Labem in April 1945, within days of the end of World War II, targeted the railway station -- a strategic site for the Nazis after the Dresden bombings -- as well as SS barracks and the local branch of the Nazi party.


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