Pilsen - Closed stores, warnings of irregular city transport connections, no parking allowed, riot police and water canons standby - that's what it looked like downtown Pilsen on Saturday afternoon.
About a hundred of neo-Nazis, some wearing balaclavas, gathered at the Square of Emil Škoda to protest against curtailing the freedom of speech and assembly in the Czech Republic.
This time the neo-Nazi demonstration was authorized, as the Supreme administrative court ruled that Pilsen´s mayor Pavel Roedl´s ban of the neo-Nazis´ march on 19 January was not legally justified.
Allegedly, Roedl did not observe the 3-day deadline for banning the march. However, Roedl argued it was impossible to verify the real agenda stated in the request within 3 days.
Minorities and maniacs
Before the protesters began marching, a number of fiery speeches were heard at the Square of Emil Škoda. Chairman of the Workers´ Party Tomáš Vandas criticized Minister Džamila Stehlíková for dedicating her time only to the "socially not adaptable minorities and sexual maniacs."
Vandas was also highly critical of the current politicians who "waste money on foreign military missions."
The main organizer of the Saturday's march Václav Bureš challenged the right-wing supporters to become political.
"Let's get rid of people who are a disgrace to our country. Let's enter politics, first at the communal level, and then let´s make it up to the top."
The demonstrators observed a one-minute silence to remember Palestinians who have died in combat with Israel.
When marching through Pilsen's major boulevard Klatovská třída, the demonstrators shouted slogans like "The totalitarian state keeps us awake!" and "We want equal rights!".
The boulevard was engulfed with hundreds of onlookers, some visibly anti-Nazi activists who shouted anti-Nazi slogans.
The riot police kept these two groups strictly separated to prevent any clash.
Anti-nazi activists present
The neo-Nazi protesters passed the Great Jewish Synagogue, the second largest synagogue in Europe, where they met an assembly of anti-nazi activists who wore T-shirts with a slogan "Neo-Nazism is ridiculous", or the star of David.
Among others were chairwoman of Anti-Semitism League Věra Tydlitátová, head of Prague's Jewish Museum Leo Pavlát and mayor of the City of Pilsen Pavel Roedl.
Apart from the protesters and downtown residents, police prevented anyone else from entering the final destination of the march - the Republic Square.
The demonstration ended around 4.30 p.m. and no incident was reported.