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Clash between Slovak police and far-right group leads to arrests

A total of 30 people were arrested during a police intervention against supporters of the far-right civic organisation Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness) in the eastern Slovak village of Šarišské Michaľany in Prešov region on Saturday, August 8, a spokesperson for the Regional Police Corps Directorate in Prešov, Magdaléna Fečová, told TASR on August 9.

A total of 30 people were arrested during a police intervention against supporters of the far-right civic organisation Slovenská Pospolitosť (Slovak Togetherness) in the eastern Slovak village of Šarišské Michaľany in Prešov region on Saturday, August 8, a spokesperson for the Regional Police Corps Directorate in Prešov, Magdaléna Fečová, told TASR on August 9.

She added that 27 of those detained were arrested for disturbing public order; one person was brought in to a local police station in order to provide an explanation of the events that occurred; and another two people were asked to show proof of identity. All of them were released later with their misdemeanours due to be dealt with by respective district police offices, Fečová said.

Police dispersed a crowd of 200 Pospolitosť supporters on the afternoon of August 8 after they failed to follow an appeal made by mayor of the village, Jozef Brendza, to leave the local football stadium where their protest was being held. The crowd was assembled for what Pospolitosť claims was a reaction to an assault carried out by two Roma teenagers from a nearby Roma settlement on a white pensioner earlier this week. As well, a white shop assistant was murdered by a 19-year-old Roma at a convenience store in Šarišské Michaľany in March 2009, the organisation said.

Fecova added that two protesters and five police officers sustained light injuries in the intervention. She also confirmed that former Pospolitosť leader Marian Kotleba, who also ended up at the police station, used his right to remain silent. Police identified Kotleba as the organiser of the unannounced protest and arrested him even before the police launched the action against the crowd. The protests drew the attention of many onlookers, with some locals supporting the rally, TASR wrote, adding that they criticised the police intervention as inappropriate and launched verbal attacks at the officers in the process.

Former interior minister Vladimír Palko said on Sunday, August 9, that statistics on crimes perpetrated by Roma should be released on a regular basis, particularly as regards crimes involving violence and property crimes, TASR was told the same day. Palko was speaking in the aftermath of the police action.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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