Global Street Party 98 in Prague, 16 May.

Dear friends,

We would like to inform you about the situation in the Czech republic in terms of the police violence against demonstrators at the Global Street Party 98 which was held in Prague on 16 May. 3 000 people came to enjoy the GSP and in the evening hours went to march in the streets of Prague. They blocked traffic in the trunk roud which cuts through Prague almost in the centre.

The first confrontation with the police started when a line of 28 policemen tried to stop the march by using truncheons without asking people to disperse. Policemen were driven back and nobody was seriously injured. The next incident happened when a police car drove into the crowd at high speed. The demonstrators turned it upside down but didn't attack the policemen inside. The march was dissolved by the organisers of the GSP in front of the town hall. However, 300 people continued marching into the city centre where new confrontations occurred. By that time the police had already gathered enough men and equipment to stop the demonstrators but did not make use of their force. After that, shop windows of Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonaldo, butcher's and fashion shop (whose owners support the fascist skinhead movement) were broken. About 30 people including a few provocateurs were smashing windows and the rest of the people (150) was just watching it. Police started to act about 9 p.m., at a time when the riots were over. The police attack was so hard and brutal that even the Czech public was shocked. It has to be added that because police intervention came so late, no "radicals" were present at that time. 64 people were detained, including 22 under the age of 18, and 13 women. During the police action innocent people (who were just walking around) were also beaten. All those detained were beaten, mistreated and humiliated until the morning hours. Injured people were taken to the hospital where the beatings continued even in the presence of physicians. All these people were interrogated, however the police refused to give them copies of the interrogation protocols. 25 people were accused of criminal offences and 10 of them were detained for 14 days (one man is still being detained). Those people (in detention) were beaten so much that the police prevented them from having any contact with the public and the media. Most of them are about 18 years old. Responsible institutions and the minister for internal affairs still claim that the intervention was adequate. All organisations involved in human rights in the Czech republic have made statements that treaties about human rights were infringed. It is evident that the imprisoned demonstrators weren't beaten because of committing any crime (which would also be inadmissible) but for their political beliefs. State institutions reacted by proposing to create a special police task force of 500 men trained to intervene against this kind of demonstrations.

The next step undertaken by the police was to accuse me, as one of the organisers of the GSP, of destroying the billboard with the portrait of Miroslav Slàdek (the leader of the republican party with racist and fascist manifestations). On 26 May I was detained for 30 hours and was thus prevented from participating in a TV programme about anarchism. I was released just because of interventions of some NGOs, the Czech TV and some noted personalities. Now I will be put on trial and there is a possibility that I will be convicted to 2 years of prison. The intimidation of other activists still continues and we expect that more people will be charged. In my opinion the Czech republic has excluded itself from the community of democratic countries after mass emigration of Gipsies because of their discrimination and racial attacks (more than 20 dead people), brutal police attack against demonstrations and attacks in autonomous clubs without punishing the responsible functionaries.

With regard to our desperate situation (we do not have enough money to pay for lawyers, the connection with you is possible only thanks to one organisation which sent us a computer and modem.), we ask for your help. If it is possible for you, please, organise actions in front of the Czech embassy in your country, mail them, inform NGOs and people about our situation. Or if you are able to make a benefit concert or give us some financial support for imprisoned and prosecuted activists, we will be really obliged to you.

Slavom Dr Tes E1rek
Spokesman of Rainbow Keepers Czech Republic
Member of the Socio-Ecological Union
For more information please contact P.O. Box 587, 170 06, Praha 7, Czech Republic.