Pilsen - Young men dressed in black with flags of the same color marching through the city, surrounded by highly visible police force and being shouted at by their opponents. That is a likely picture of downtown Pilsen on upcoming Saturday, January 19.
Preparing for their announced march through the Western Bohemian city, neo-Nazis decided to leave nothing to chance. They have already given specific advice to people planning to participate in the event, on their web site.
New Kids on the Black Block
"Avoid wearing symbols you can be persecuted for. If not sure about a particular item or tattoo, feel free to ask the organizers, who will be around, for a black duct tape to cover it. Also, leave your beloved military boots and camouflage pants at home on that day. We recommend "black bloc" style attire," informed the organizers.
The so called Black blocs are a radical group that comes together to protest against market-driven globalisation and capitalism on various occasions. Black blocs typically wear black clothes and masks to avoid being identified by authorities and to promote solidarity of sorts.
Black bloc "fashion" arose in Europe during the late 1980s among anti-fascists, anarchists and autonomists but to much disgust of the original "founders" of black bloc, the tactics are now increasingly being adopted by their sworn enemies - neo-Nazis.
Arms and lawyers at hand
In a rather threatening tone the organizers appealed to gun license holders to apply for a permit to carry a gun during the demonstration.
On top of that, they have allegedly ensured the presence of a lawyer, whose job it will be to negotiate with police in the case of disputes or conflicts.
It is going to be the first major event on a neo-Nazi calendar since November 2007 when their plan to march through Prague's Jewish Quarter on the anniversary of Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom was hampered due to police, protesters, media attention and general public disapproval.
It is most likely that this time the neo-Nazis picked another symbolic event. On 18 January 1942, the German occupation authorities in Pilsen began transporting Jews to the Terezín internment camp. The march organizers are planning to march around the Great Synagogue where a commemoration of that day will be held by the Jewish community starting at 2 PM.
The Pilsen city authorities approved the march despite the police uneasiness.
German far-right extremists are expected to show up at the march as well. As part of the preparation works for the extremists´ march, the local police asked their German neighbours for help.
Czech President Václav Klaus who visited Pilsen earlier this week, commented on the issue, too: "You know very well I condemned the neo-Nazi march in Prague some time ago. I have a very strong and strict opinion about such issues. My view may be stricter than the norm is," he said.