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BEATINGS FOLLOW SKINHEAD CONCERT

Fascist rally broken up by police

Six Roma youths were beaten by skinheads 24 hours after police broke up a neo-Nazi concert.
A 20-year-old Roma, Marek Baláž, suffered concussion and several broken fingers after he was attacked by a group of 20 skinheads in Prievidza September 30.
Witnesses say the incident took place near the Billa supermarket and that local Nazi supporters were responsible.
One man has since been arrested and charged with a racially motivated crime after he admitted to police he was a Nazi supporter.
Miroslav B, 25, an unemployed man from Prievidza, told police: "I am a skinhead and I hate gypsies."


Police took action against a neo-fascist rally for the first time in Slovak history.
photo: Name of photographer withheld by request

Six Roma youths were beaten by skinheads 24 hours after police broke up a neo-Nazi concert.

A 20-year-old Roma, Marek Baláž, suffered concussion and several broken fingers after he was attacked by a group of 20 skinheads in Prievidza September 30.

Witnesses say the incident took place near the Billa supermarket and that local Nazi supporters were responsible.

One man has since been arrested and charged with a racially motivated crime after he admitted to police he was a Nazi supporter.

Miroslav B, 25, an unemployed man from Prievidza, told police: "I am a skinhead and I hate gypsies."

Peter Hortulayni, spokesperson for Prievidza police, confirmed they were now pursuing the case and investigating the activities of 15 other men on the night of September 30.


photo: Name of photographer withheld by request

"I can confirm we are investigating a racially motivated crime and that those responsible will face the full force of the law," he said.

On September 29, police stopped an illegal neo Nazi concert in Papradno (in the Považská Bystrica district) attended by around 500 skinheads from across Europe and the US. The police operation involved 150 officers and 89 skinheads were detained.

The police used only handcuffs as a means of restraint, and those detained were released in the morning, while other skinheads in Papradno left at about 5:00. There were no injuries.

Trenčín Regional Police spokesperson, Lenka Bušová, said: "We checked every person who was there. We brought 89 people in for questioning on suspicion of supporting movements suppressing human rights and freedoms.

"All of them were released and so far no charges have been brought. However, considering the information we have gathered, that may change."

During the operation, police recovered newspapers, magazines, posters and Nazi paraphernalia.

A video camera with two cassettes and knives was also seized.

Two bands from the US, another two from Slovakia and one Czech group were supposed to participate, but band members disappeared a short time before the raid.

Nazi sympathisers from the Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, France, Slovenia and Germany are also believed to have attended the concert, which was held to commemorate the death of Ian Stuart Donaldson, founder of the Blood and Honour organisation and lead singer of Skrewdriver, a British racist rock group. Donaldson died in a car crash in the UK in September 1993.

According to the Ľudia Proti Rasizmu (People Against Racism - ĽPR) NGO the concert was one of the biggest neo-Nazi events in central Europe, where the "elite of the elite" in the skinhead movement met.

However, ĽPR chairman Ladislav Ďurkovič said he now feared that revenge attacks would be targeted against Roma, other minorities and anti-racist activists.

"The police poked a hornet's nest, which could lead to the radicalisation and strengthening of the neo-Nazi movement. We can now expect an increased number of skinhead attacks targeted against Roma people, other minority groups and third sector activists like us. The skinheads know it was us who tipped off the police," he warned.

In response to the police raid, the neo-Nazis who attended the concert wrote on their internet web page: "The incident in Prievidza was not the last one, the more the better, let them see that no police intervention will stop us.

"We didn't do anything that would be considered criminal in a free country, and still tens of us were brought in by the police."


photo: Name of photographer withheld by request
Some of the most important work that remains is identifying the owners and distributors of the Nazi paraphernalia.

ĽPR say Saturday's rally involved "the hardest core of global neo-Nazis". ĽPR praised the police action but insisted they now expected law enforcement officers to pursue prosecutions and investigate skinhead movements in Slovakia.

"After several neo-Nazi meetings earlier this year which were ignored by the police, we put all our efforts into changing the approach of the police towards these meetings and we succeeded," said Ďurkovič.

"Participation alone in such an event is a crime involving the suppression of human rights and freedoms.

"But we are disappointed that the police questioned only 235 suspects out of more than 500 neo-Nazis in attendance."

Police spokesperson Bušová said that the people at the concert did not publicly claim to be neo-Nazis, and that the event had been organised under the guise of a dance party.

Jozef Sitár, the spokesperson of the Interior Ministry, said the police plan to strengthen their fight against organised neo-Nazi groups, and claimed such a policy is already in use. "The proof of it was this action," he said.

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