Headlines 25 October, 2013
The windows at the front of the family’s home have had to be fortified because of people in the area throwing bricks at the house.
23/10/2013- The Roma family at the centre of a controversy involving a little blonde girl, who was taken from their house in Tallaght, Dublin, this week, have previously been victims of racist attacks in their area, it has emerged. DNA tests carried out today have proven that the 7-year-old is related to the family. She was taken into the care of the HSE on Monday after being removed from the house during a garda operation. A source close to the family told TheJournal.ie that the family, who have been living at the house for five years, have been targeted several times. Windows at the front of the house have been broken with bricks twice and the landlord has had to install fortified glass . It is understood that several verbal threats have also been made against the family over the last number of years. “There’s a bad feeling in general in Tallaght towards the Roma community,” a source said. “The whole area is a melting pot of mixed cultures so there has been racial tension and that has led to violence and threats.” The source said there have been a number of attacks on “other properties with people from the Roma community”. “In some cases it’s broken windows and there’s been fire damage as well,” they said.
This new information comes in the wake of a warning from groups representing immigrants and the Roma community about a ‘witch hunt’ against them. Pavee Point said today that there is a “real danger” that State action based solely on the basis of appearance could create the conditions for an increase in racism and discrimination against the Roma community living in this country. It also emerged today that a two-year-old boy, who had been removed from the home of a Roma family in Athlone because of questions around his identity, has now been returned to them. The head of the Immigrant Council Denise Charlton said the Government needs to make clear what procedures are in place in public services to stop racial profiling from happening. “Any targeting of an individual community for such scrutiny, on the basis of unfounded perceptions that they are more likely than others to break the law, is wrong,” she said. Commenting today on the incidents with the two children, Minister For Justice Alan Shatter said it is important that “no group or minority community is singled out for unwarranted attention, or, indeed, suspicion in relation to child protection issues.”
© The Journal Ireland
Mob Screamed 'You Steal Our Jobs' as Italian Youth Joele Leotta Beaten to Death (UK)
23/10/2013- Attackers who beat an Italian man to death allegedly shouted "you steal our jobs" during the violence. Six men were being questioned by police on suspicion of attempted murder over the incident at an Italian restaurant in Maidstone, Kent. A total of nine men have been arrested in connection with the enquiry. The victim has been named in Italian media as Joele Leotta, 19, who was working at a restaurant named 'Vesuvius', when he died. According to The Day - an Italian newspaper, the attackers allegedly accused him of 'stealing jobs' as they launched the fatal assault. Leotta, who died in hospital from his injuries, had been learning English and living in accommodation above the restaurant at the time, it is understood.
A tribute page on Facebook was liked by more than 350 people and drew shocked reaction. One commenter posted: "My friend always told me: Never go to England." Another one commented on the fact the victim was Italian, writing: "the novelty is that instead of the usual non-European immigrants, this time they attacked a European, as well as white. You can still speak of racism? xenophobia? Or is it just the expression of idiocy?" The family of Leotta have been informed and are on their way to Kent from Italy. A Kent police spokesman said: "Police were called at 11:20pm on the evening of 20 October to Lower Stone Street in Maidstone, where a man had reportedly been assaulted. A 19 year old Italian man later died at King's College Hospital in London." Joele's father Ivan flew in to England with the family "in shock" at his violent death. He said Joele had been "so happy" to be in the country.
© The International Business Times
Victims of hatred are given a voice (UK)
21/10/2013- More than 1,000 victims of hate crime have spoken out about their daily experiences of prejudice and bigotry. The victims have spoken to University of Leicester researchers conducting a two-year study of the nature and scale of the crime in the city. It will publish its findings a year from now and hopes it will help organisations such as the police councils, housing associations and the NHS to improve their support for victims. When it embarked on its research a year ago, it expected to hear stories of people being singled out because of their race, religion or disability. However, the team was also keen to hear from people such as the homeless, asylum seekers, travellers, people with mental illness or even particular youth sub-cultures, including "Goths", because they believed their suffering was less well-publicised.
The team has been publishing victims' comments on Twitter this week. A small selection is reproduced below. Dr Neil Chakraborti, the project's principal investigator, said: "We know hate crime is a problem which affects all kinds of people but all to often it goes under the radar. "We are pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have engaged with us and we are only still at the halfway point. "All we are doing is bringing their stories to light so we can work with other agencies to come up with ideas for tackling some of these problems. "There is already a lot of very good work in Leicestershire to address hate crime, but there is clearly still some way to go. "There is still a reluctance among victims to come forward and talk about what is happening to them and some of the stories we have heard have been genuinely shocking."
So far, more than 1,000 victims have completed the research team's online survey, while approximately 100 have been interviewed face to face at community centres, places of worship and youth groups. The university's Department of Criminology has received more than £200,000 from the Economic and Social Research Council to complete the two-year study. Anyone who would like to take part in the survey should contact Stevie-Jade Hardy on 0116 252 3784 or 07795 826061, or e-mail: email@example.com
© The Leicester Mercury
'Lone wolves' such as Pavlo Lapshyn are part of a bigger threat (UK, opinion)
The rightwing extremist who murdered an elderly Muslim man may have operated alone but, worryingly, his beliefs are shared widely
by Matthew Goodwin
23/10/2013- Only five days after he arrived in the UK from Ukraine in April this year, Pavlo Lapshyn murdered Mohammed Saleem. Saleem, an 82-year-old man, was walking home from prayers at his local mosque in Birmingham. He was stabbed three times in his back, and his head was stamped on. Two months later, amid the charged atmosphere that followed the murder of drummer Lee Rigby, 25-year-old Lapshyn detonated an explosive device outside a mosque in Walsall. The next week, he detonated another device near a mosque in Wolverhampton. Two weeks later, a third bomb packed with nails exploded outside a mosque in Tipton. The only reason the bomb did not result in hundreds of deaths was that prayers had been moved back one hour because of Ramadan.
Lapshyn, who will be sentenced on Friday, has not concealed his motive. Though many like to dismiss so-called "lone wolves" as irrational and mentally ill, like others before him he drew influence from a wider extreme-right subculture. He admired the Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, and Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik, and absorbed Hunter and The Turner Diaries, violent novels by an American neo-Nazi that detail the assassination of minorities and advocate race war. Asked about his own campaign of violence, Lapshyn responded: "I would like to increase racial conflict."
These ideas reflect a deeply held set of beliefs among hardcore rightwing extremists, which give them a compelling rationale for violence: the survival of Europe or the nation is under threat from multiculturalism or Islam; established politicians are unwilling to save the native group, or complicit in their downfall; only urgent and radical action can fend off the threat; and activists have a moral obligation to act to save their group and future generations. Lone wolves are rare creatures, but the narratives they use to justify their violence are widespread on the extremist fringe.
In a world that continues to view terrorism as a group-based activity, lone actors present a daunting challenge and one that might simply never be overcome. Security officials have spent at least 50 years shaping law enforcement tools around the assumption that terrorism is at least cell-based with chains of command. But disrupting group dynamics, infiltrating organisations and exploiting weak links in a longer chain suddenly appear redundant in the fight against isolated individuals, who might never even have met a fellow believer. Instead, the Breiviks of the world engage in extreme "narrowcasting", visiting the same websites day after day, encountering little that challenges their worldview. Even terrorist groups now recognise the advantage of keeping their operatives outside of traditional channels.
This is why, this week, one of the UK's most senior security officials has warned about the lone wolf threat, claiming activists driven by a hatred of immigrants and Muslims are often more skilled in using explosives, harder to track, and not constrained by the weaknesses that undermine groups. "The biggest weapons caches found in this country in the last five years," explained Charles Farr, director of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, "have been connected with people sympathetic to extreme rightwing causes." (Meanwhile, in Germany, authorities recently confiscated almost 1,000 weapons from known rightwing extremists). Nor is this the first warning. The central intelligence agency (CIA), UK home affairs committee and department for homeland security, who in 2009 pointed to the economic downturn and disillusioned military veterans returning from fighting Islamists in Afghanistan and Iraq as possible triggers, have all flagged the growing impact of lone wolf action.
While the homeland security report was attacked by Tea Party activists, who saw it as an attempt to stain their radical right views, the agency was soon proved correct when a military veteran and white supremacist, Wade Michael Page, embarked on a shooting spree at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. In fact, between 1990 and 2010 the US saw almost 350 ideologically motivated murders by rightwing extremists, 37% of which were perpetrated by lone individuals. More than half of the victims were targeted simply because they belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group.
Yet the reality is that we know little about this challenge. A cursory glance at research entries on Google Scholar highlights the general trend: a staggering 10,400 books or articles on "Islamic terrorism"; more than 7,000 on "racist violence", but less than 250 on "lone-wolf terrorism". It is perhaps unsurprising that a researcher would call for more research, but unless we produce the reliable and objective studies of what pushes young men like Lapshyn into violence, then all we are left with is speculation and the consequences of these actions.
© The Guardian
Student pleads guilty to attacks on Midlands mosques (UK)
Pavlo Lapshyn killed 82-year-old Muslim and planted bombs in Wolverhampton and Tipton to increase racial conflict
21/10/2013- A Ukrainian student has pleaded guilty to trying to incite a race war on Britain's streets by launching a terrorist campaign in which he stabbed a Muslim grandfather to death and exploded bombs near mosques in an attempt to murder and maim worshippers. Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, admitted to police that he hated anyone who was not white and that he wanted to carry out a series of violent attacks to convulse community relations. His campaign started in April 2013, just five days after his arrival from Ukraine, where he had won a prize to gain work experience in Britain. When the PhD student was arrested in July, hours before it was feared he could strike again, police found three partially assembled bombs in his Birmingham flat. His campaign caused alarm at the top levels of the British government, with the domestic security service MI5 joining the police-led hunt.
Lapshyn's bombing campaign started after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in a London street, with his final explosive detonating weeks later on the day of Rigby's funeral – although police believe the campaign was not motivated by the murder of the soldier. It is believed the Ukrainian acted alone and was unconnected to any group. On Monday,Laphshyn yesterday pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey in London to the murder and staging the bomb attacks, after confessing to them during police interviews. He will be sentenced on Friday. The student stabbed Mohammed Saleem, 82, to death in Birmingham as he walked a few hundred yards from a mosque to his home. During police interviews Lapshyn confessed when asked about the murder: "I have a racial hatred so I have a motivation, a racial motivation and racial hatred." Police say he did not mention Muslims or a specific hatred of Islam.
After the guilty pleas, Shazia Khan, Saleem's daughter, said of her murdered father: "He was targeted simply because of his faith. His beard and his clothing represented who he was. To kill someone because of what they look like and what they believe in is unforgivable." After the murder Lapshyn acquired materials for bombs. By June he had started placing homemade explosives outside mosques on Fridays, the main day when Muslims attend places of worship. The device he planted in July, which had 100 nails wrapped around it to maximise the carnage, was aimed at worshippers at the Tipton mosque, where 300 were people expected to attend prayers. But prayers that particular Friday were held one hour later, so mass casualties were avoided. The device was so powerful it left nails embedded in tree trunks, police said.
The search for Lapshyn was the most intense hunt for a serial bomber on the British mainland in years. Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, head of the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, said Lapshyn was "self-radicalised" and used the internet to learn how to make bombs. After his arrest Lapshyn told police he "would like to increase racial conflict" and felt a series of explosions would achieve more than one big attack. He was explicit about his motivation for the Tipton mosque attack in an interview recorded after he was cautioned: "The purpose was to commit a terrorist act." Detectives who interviewed him described him as "calm and calculated". He even told police he carried out an attack near the mosque in Wolverhampton, which they had previously been unaware of.
After the verdict the home secretary Theresa May said: "This is a satisfying outcome to a highly distressing case where Pavlo Lapshyn's hatred has robbed a family of a loved one and attempted to cause fear and division within our communities." Some in Muslim communities felt the attacks were under-reported in the media because Islam was the target, a view shared at one point publicly by West Midlands deputy chief constable David Thompson. Today Beale said "both the media and ourselves should reflect". Lapshyn had been a gifted student who was studying for a PhD in machine building. Social media pages belonging to him contain extremist rightwing and Nazi material. There were images of Timothy McVeigh, whose bombing of a US government building in Oklahoma in 1995 killed 168 people.
Ukrainian researchers say Lapshyn's social media pages also contain material relating to Hitler, about contemporary Nazis, and rabidly antisemitic material. A laptop seized by British police contained an extremist rightwing publication, The Turner Diaries, also believed to have been read by McVeigh. Further extremist material was found on Lapshyn's laptop, plus details of planning and virtual reconnaissance for the attacks. There were bus timetables to get him to the mosques he attacked, as well as press coverage of Mohammed Saleem's murder. Police say they found no material belonging to British racist groups such as the British National party or the English Defence League. Nor was there material suggesting his bombing campaign was incited by the terrorist murder of Lee Rigby on 22 May, which occurred a month before Lapshyn's first bomb attack.
Lapshyn came to Britain after winning a competition to work at a software firm in Birmingham. At a prizegiving ceremony he stood next to the British ambassador to Ukraine. Police say their inquiries showed no links to groups in Ukraine. But police there had arrested and fined him after an explosion in his flat in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, which may have provided clues for his later actions.
© The Guardian
Two hate crimes against gays in less than a week (Denmark)
As LGBT association says the number of hate crimes is falling, violent assaults on a gay celebrity and a drag queen occurred in Copenhagen within six days
23/11/2013- Two fans approached Gustav Salinas and wanted to have their photo taken with the flamboyant 23-year-old reality TV star in central Copenhagen last Friday. But suddenly they smashed a bottle into the back of Salina's head and taunted him as an "ugly homo" before they ran away. "The experience will make me think twice before I have my picture taken again. I would never hesitate before, but I'm going to now," Salinas told Ekstra Bladet after the assault. Salinas said that he has been harassed numerous times because he is openly gay but this weekend's incident marked the first time that the threats escalated into violence.
"Are you a boy or a girl?"
The hate crime happened less than a week after a drag queen, referred to as 'Nikolaj' in the media, was attacked and beaten outside of Tivoli Gardens when he was walking home from the Copenhagen Mix LGBT film festival with a friend. "Are you a boy or a girl?," a young English speaking man asked Nikolaj, before he smashed a bottle against his head. Balancing on 16cm high heels, Nikolaj tripped over and fell to the ground, when suddenly four other foreigners appeared and began kicking him. Luckily a taxi driver pulled up and scared off the group and two passers-by helped tend to his wounds until the police arrived. In both Nikolaj and Salina's cases, the attacks are classified as hate crimes because the perpetrators were clearly motivated by the sexual orientation of their victims. The police are investigating surveillance footage from the streets where both attacks took place. One of Salina’s suspected attackers is currently in police custody.
Rise in number of sexually-motivated hate crimes
According to the domestic intelligence agency, PET, the official number of reported sexually-motivated hate crimes rose from 23 in 2011 to 33 in 2012. But the Justice Ministry believes the actual number to be much higher. According to a national survey in 2012, 4,038 people claimed to have been victims of sexually-motivated attacks. But Kenneth Engberg of the national LGBT association said that the statistics only show that people have become more aware of the issue, and that the actual number of incidents are falling. "We will hopefully see a decline in the number of hate crimes in Denmark in the future," he told Politiken newspaper. "Although both official and unofficial numbers point in the other direction, I think that is because we are discussing hate crimes more now than we did before and that makes the cases much more visible." Since the hate crime law was introduced in 2005, hate crime convictions have been rare in Denmark.
On Thursday, a man who was convicted for attacking a trans-woman with a hammer in Copenhagen will be sentenced following a month of psychological evaluation. The hate crime law allowed the judge in the case to set a much stiffer sentence than if the assailant had only been found guilty of grievous bodily harm. Not only does Denmark have fewer hate crimes than Sweden and Norway but the attacks in the neighbour countries are far more brutal. "Hate crimes in Sweden are more extreme. They use knives and other weapons and nearly kill their victims," Engberg said. "In Denmark they only hit us with fists, after all."
Trying to stay positive
Nikolaj said that he hopes his story will make people realise that hate crimes are still occurring. Despite the terrifying experience, Nikolaj said he won't let narrow-minded people win. "I still want to be able to walk the streets in drag. These assholes won't bring me down," he told Politiken newspaper. "I just think it is sad that there are some people out there who can't respect that we're all different." Salinas also said that he is going to leave the case to the police and move on, despite the hateful comments he has received following the attack. "People wrote things to me like 'you finally got what you deserved'," he told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. "It is tough, but I am trying to stay positive. The experience won't make me change who I am."
© The Copenhagen Post
Ukraine Jews see alleged beating of Jewish man as symptom of mounting nationalism
22/10/2013- The police station on Stefan Bandera Street in Lviv used to be just another government building to Dmitry Flekman. But that changed earlier this month following a nine-hour interrogation by two detectives, who were accused of torturing and humiliating the 29-year-old Jewish businessman. It’s an incident that some see as indicative of rising nationalism and anti-Semitism in Ukraine. “Many people here want to move away from Soviet days to the Western model, but that can only happen if the fundamental rights of law-abiding people like me are respected,” Flekman told JTA last week. “To me, it’s a symbol of injustice.”
Flekman’s ordeal began Oct. 1, when the officers arrested him on his way back from the bank. At the police station, Flekman says, the officers tried to extort $10,000 from him. “They picked on me because they thought they could get money out of it, but it turned anti-Semitic when they discovered my mother’s maiden name is Rosenberg,” he said, adding, “One of them told me he’d do to me what Hitler did and beat me.” After the first beating, one of the officers urinated on Flekman and fractured his tailbone with blows to the back, Flekman told prosecutors. Flekman also said the officers forced him to sit on the floor, explaining the chair “was not for stinking Jews.”
Ukrainian authorities have not named either detective. Flekman eventually was released and collapsed on the street, where passers-by helped him get to a hospital. Police said he was not harmed during his arrest, but the Lviv Prosecutor’s Office has opened a criminal investigation based on medical reports that show his injuries “could only have been caused by blows with a blunt object.”
Anti-Semitic assaults are rare in Ukraine. But the severity of Flekman’s beating and its timing — just days before a violent nationalist march and a major conference on fighting anti-Semitism, both in Kiev — underline the growing vulnerability of the Jewish community in a country riven by a cultural and linguistic divide and beset by growing nationalism. “This is a case of anti-Semitism by state officials, which makes it extremely serious,” Meylakh Sheykhet, a Jewish human rights activist, told JTA. “Maybe western Ukraine has a special anti-Semitism problem; I don’t know. It’s complicated.”
Lviv is considered the cultural capital of western Ukraine, a Ukrainian-speaking region that was part of Poland before World War II and is the locus of much of the country’s nationalist and xenophobic sentiment. Jews primarily reside in the Russian-speaking East. The precursor to the ultranationalist Svoboda party was founded in Lviv in the 1990s, and the city remains a hotbed of support. Svoboda, whose leaders routinely use anti-Semitic slogans and refer to Jews as “kikes,” entered parliament for the first time last year, winning 10 percent of the vote to become the country’s fourth largest party. The party won 38 percent of the vote in Lviv, compared to only 17 percent in Kiev.
Oleksandr Feldman, a member of parliament and president of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, declined to comment on the Flekman case, but he acknowledged that Jews feel increasingly targeted by nationalists emboldened by Svoboda’s success. “Even if Svoboda is not perpetrating the attacks, their activities strengthen the anti-Semitic sentiments we are trying to counter,” Feldman said. Last week, Feldman organized a conference in Kiev to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the acquittal of Mendel Beilis, a Jew that czarist authorities tried to frame for the “ritual murder” of a Christian child. Hundreds of local and foreign dignitaries listened as speakers related the history of anti-Semitic blood libels. “There is anti-Semitism in Ukraine and we need to fight relentlessly,” Feldman told JTA. “But there isn’t the state anti-Semitism that existed a century or even a few decades ago.”
Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Oleksandr Vilkul said at the conference that the country has made “huge progress in safeguarding minority rights.” But some critics charge that Ukraine hasn’t done nearly enough to combat anti-Semitism. Efraim Zuroff, who heads the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem office, said the street where Flekman was assaulted, named for the nationalist Ukrainian politician Bandera, is a reminder that Ukraine refuses to fully confront the lessons of history. The center has protested the honoring of Bandera, whose troops are believed to have killed thousands of Jews when they were allies of the Nazis in 1941.
But little progress has been made, as many Ukrainians consider Bandera a hero because he fought Russian communists in a failed effort to prevent the country’s annexation by the Soviet Union. “Glorification of Nazis and extremist nationalism is part of an atmosphere that affects Jews on the ground,” Zuroff said. Even as guests were convening for the conference, Svoboda was organizing its annual Oct. 14 march honoring Bandera. The march had become an important date for neo-Nazis since Svoboda started organizing it in 2005. This year, the march featured masked men who clashed with communist protesters in several violent scuffles in Kiev.
Such activity has been part of a wider rise of far-right nationalist parties throughout Central and Eastern Europe in recent years. Hungary’s Jobbik party and Golden Dawn in Greece have adopted anti-Semitic imagery and slogans as part of their wider resistance to ethnic minorities and the encroaching authority of the European Union. But historic animosity between Ukrainian nationalists and like-minded groups in nearby countries have created unexpected setbacks for Svoboda’s efforts to forge alliances with other nationalist groups. As a result, Svoboda has become increasingly isolated from pan-European alliances in which Jobbik is active. “There is very little that Europe’s rising extreme-right forces have in common,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, the American Jewish Committee’s director of international affairs, “except the thread of anti-Semitism woven through all of them.”
© JTA News
Gay Pride Activist Assaulted in Montenegro
A group of about 20 young men attacked an 18-year-old who participated in Sunday's first ever Pride parade in Podgorica, the LGBT Forum Progress said.
22/10/2013- The youth was attacked on Monday night close to his home and received minor injuries, the gay rights NGO said on Facebook. He was in the company of Stevan Milivojevic, the executive director of the LGBT Forum Progress, it added. The victim was “the only high school student in Podgorica who attended and publicly supported the Pride parade”, the statement noted. The young man gave a statement to the police, and the basic state prosecutor was also familiarized with the case late on Monday. The first Pride parade to take place in Podgorica went ahead on Sunday morning. Sixty people were detained and 20 police were injured in clashes during the parade, which went ahead despite the violence. Masked anti-gay protesters attacked police cordons and threw stones as they tried to break through and reach the parade, but officers in riot gear held them back by firing tear gas. Some 2,000 police officers were deployed to prevent possible violence.
Prior to the event, media reported that one teenager injured himself while trying to make an explosive device, which he planned to throw at the parade’s participants. The parade, named “Proudly, Montenegro”, was the second to be held in the country – the first took place in the seaside town of Budva in July. This was attended by an estimated 120 people and went ahead despite attacks by anti-gay protesters. The latest European Commission progress report on Montenegro, issued on October 16, said that hate speech and violence against the LGBT community had increased since the July parade, demonstrating “a high level of homophobia in the country”. However, unlike the situation in neighbouring Serbia, Montenegro's authorities have given their full backing to the gay community to stage parades.
© Balkan Insight
Gay rights: Moldova struggles to tackle discrimination
Russian pressure isn’t the only obstacle in the drive toward the EU.
14/10/2013- Josan Casian had done it plenty of times before. The 32-year-old gay IT professional would visit a dating website, find a suitable partner and agree on a meeting spot. There he’d feel out the situation: if he felt comfortable, he would stay. So he saw no reason to worry during a seemingly ordinary meeting in June. “The guy asked me if I was definitely gay,” said Casian, who asked to use a pseudonym because he’s not open about his sexuality. “When I said yes, he punched me in the face.” Casian knew immediately what had happened. “This was a guy determined to beat up a gay person,” he said. The attack didn’t take place in Russia, where a controversial ban on gay “propaganda” has encouraged a high-profile spate of anti-gay violence, but here in Moldova — billed as a “top reformer” in the European Integration Index. Even as the country is poised to take its biggest step toward Europe so far by signing key agreements with the EU next month, such incidents — rights activists call them gay “hunting” — are a reminder that it’s still struggling to overcome widespread discrimination against minorities.
Nevertheless, Moldova has generally outshone its post-Soviet counterparts in enacting reforms. Although corruption and political instability remain key obstacles for the country’s shaky pro-European government, it has emerged as the star pupil of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, and is set to initial association and free-trade agreements with the EU in late November. The EU’s effort has focused on aggressive promotion of a values-based agenda that linked eventual visa-free travel for Moldovans to the successful passage last year of a law against discrimination. The Law on Ensuring Equality, which seeks to combat discrimination in public and private life, drew applause from Western officials who welcomed it as a step toward embracing European values. But critics say that official attempts to enforce tolerance through legislation ring hollow without instituting proper education in a society heavily influenced by religion and traditional values.
“It’s clear to everyone that the government isn’t doing this because it’s the right decision, but just so that it can avoid criticism from European countries,” says Anastasia Danilova, head of GenderDoc-M, Moldova’s only gay rights group. Before it can pry open Europe’s borders, however, the government has to demonstrate it can enforce the new legislation. That may prove difficult in a country where the Soviet-era legacy of marginalizing society’s “unwanted” remains strong. “Moldova is a country where prejudice is at home,” says Cristina Pereteatcu, the director of the watchdog Amnesty International Moldova. Gay people aren't the only minority group under threat. Among those who suffer most, physically and mentally disabled people often find themselves out in the cold when it comes to everything from educational opportunities to simple accessibility to buildings. Although Moldova ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2010, Pereteatcu says the authorities have found themselves hard-pressed to implement its requirements in a country with virtually no infrastructure for the disabled.
“The government admitted that it was the most expensive convention Moldova has ever ratified,” she said. However, gay rights have drawn the most attention. That topic has become a political football in recent years, especially exploited by the Moldovan Orthodox Church, which enjoys enormous influence in society and politics. The church has used its moral authority among Moldova’s largely poor and conservative population to push an anti-gay agenda, and was instrumental in lobbying for a law enacted in July that critics say resembles Russia’s gay propaganda ban. Together with the Communists, a powerful political opposition force, the church has galvanized supporters and demanded the government repeal the anti-discrimination law, arguing that it erodes the country’s moral fiber. In June, the church reportedly barred government officials from receiving Holy Communion until the law was stricken from the books. It has also pushed for an all-out ban on “homosexual behavior.”
Casian, the gay attack victim, found himself at the center of the debate. Once a seminary student determined to pursue either priesthood or a career in theological study, he says he dropped his plans after realizing his homosexuality conflicted with his faith. He says religious leaders in Moldova, from the local Baptist church as well as the Orthodox Church, are sending a dangerous message to followers with their high-profile crusade against gay rights. “This affects ordinary people who perceive it as a call to hate,” said Casian. Pereteatcu agrees. She says the powerful conservative propaganda campaign has muddied some Moldovans’ perception on European integration by equating “European values” with gay rights. EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule probably reinforced that perception when he appeared at Moldova’s first legally sanctioned gay pride parade in May during a visit to Chisinau to celebrate Europe Day. Pereteatcu says the current government could do more to broadcast what European values are really about. “Politicians present it as a need to have many laws in place, so that everything looks OK on paper,” she said. “But in reality things don’t really change.”
Despite the negative connotations, pro-European officials hope the anti-discrimination law will succeed. They argue that promoting tolerance as a fundamentally European value is an important part of the integration process. “What we need to do as a government is to ensure that the rights of everyone are protected,” Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Iulian Groza said in an interview. “And at the same time, we need to ensure that people are informed about being tolerant.” Just this month, parliament voted to annul a controversial law enacted in July that levies fines for “propagating” relations that contradict those recognized by the Family Code. Activists such as those from GenderDoc-M had slammed the law for its potential use against gays. But as lawmakers voted, Orthodox Christian and Communist protesters barricaded the parliament building, provoking scuffles with police — a reminder that deep tensions remain. “We won’t let anyone mock our people or our faith,” Communist leader and former President Vladimir Voronin said at the event, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “We are all Christians here.”
© The Global Post.
Neo-Nazis mobilise against minorities in Czech republic (opinion)
By Dezideru Gergely and Gwen Albert
23/10/2013- Ultra-right parties and their neo-Nazi supporters have unleashed an unprecedented level of coordinated anti-Roma demonstrations throughout the Czech Republic this year, aiming to tip the balance at the polls and increase their access to power in the country’s upcoming elections. The Czech Republic faces a series of four nationwide elections between now and the end of next year – to the lower house, one-third of the Senate, the European Parliament and local governments. The country faces a threat similar to the one in Greece and Hungary that has already cost the lives of their citizens. There have been 30 anti-Roma marches organized since the beginning of the year and at least 10 more are planned. The Romani minority is the target of these hateful attacks because of deeply entrenched anti-Romani sentiment in Czech society that is easily mobilized.
In recent years, ultra-right actions there are no longer confined to extremists, but have been joined by ordinary citizens of all ages and both genders. Even the Czech Intelligence Service (BIS) has pointed out the danger of this widespread anti-Roma atmosphere. This year, it is only thanks to the so-far successful performance of law enforcement that the violence has not cost lives, although it has resulted in at least a dozen police sustaining injuries, as well as damage to property. The police have so far managed to control these rallies and prevent violence, but this has been done by restricting the freedoms of those opposing the anti-Roma gatherings.
“Gypsies to the gas chambers”
On 27 September the country’s third-largest city, Ostrava faced its second major riot and attempted pogrom on Romani neighbourhoods this year. A handful of nonviolent counter-protesters were not given any support by local authorities, who instead dispersed their legal assembly on the grounds that it was they, not the neo-Nazis, who were disturbing the peace. A neo-Nazi mob then engaged police in street fighting long into the night. While physical injury has not yet been perpetrated against anyone Romani during these demonstrations, the psychological war against them is currently being won by the ultra-right in Ostrava. The anti-Romani rallies this year have been organized by members of the Workers’ Social Justice Party (in Czech “DSSS”) and a breakaway faction called the “Czech Lions.” (Their political platforms are explicitly racist include and place a heavy emphasis on repressing what they call “inadaptables”, which everyone understands as a code word for Roma.; during their rallies and especially the mob violence that follows them, the pretense of coded language is dropped and it is normal to hear them calling to send “gypsies to the gas chambers”.
The predecessor to the DSSS, the Workers’ Party was dissolved by the courts in 2010 because its neo-Nazi ideology contravened Czech law. Unfortunately, this did not prevent the party from simply regrouping under a new name. When ordinary people join the neo-Nazis in not only shouting such messages but throwing rocks at police, this emboldens more mainstream politicians to show their constituents that they too are “tough on Roma.” In places where these anti-Romani demonstrations have occurred, local governments have enacted “zero tolerance” policies, ordinances restricting personal liberty that apply only to Roma neighborhoods and a ban on behavior perceived as “Roma”, such as sitting outdoors in public. Municipal social workers and police have conducted disruptive (probably illegal) visits to Roma households and involved local journalists who have published video footage of these “raids” online.
International network of hate groups
The rise of anti-Roma extremists in the Czech Republic is not merely a national phenomenon; it is fueled by an international network of hate groups. A few days after the 27 September demonstrations, human rights defenders across the Czech Republic were hacked by a white power group whose website is registered in California that posted racist content to websites, generated racist emails from address books, and published the correspondence of the email accounts that were hacked online. Polish, German and Slovak ultra-right supporters have also been coming to the Czech Republic to participate in these marches. These cross-border alliances should be of particular concern to all of Europe and require a concerted European response: EU recognition of anti-Gypsyism as a particular phenomenon that must be combated in all member states; EU monitoring and condemnation of hate crimes and hate speech directed against Roma; and strong enforcement of existing legal tools, such as the Race Equality Directive and the Convention on Cybercrime.
The next neo-Nazi demonstration in Ostrava and other Czech cities will be held on 28 October, a day which celebrates the founding of independent Czechoslovakia and which has long been a traditional time for nationalists and the ultra-right to call for a country free of all non-Czechs. It is imperative that law enforcement nip any potential for violence in the bud and keep those assembling as far away from the targets of their wrath as possible. However, this should not be done by restricting or prematurely dissolving the peaceful protest gatherings of Roma and non-Roma who decide to publicly to denounce these neo-Nazi marches. If any of the political parties affiliated with the promoters of hatred and genocide were to win even 1.5 % of the vote, in the Czech political system they would be entitled to taxpayer money. An infusion of resources into this movement is the last the thing Czech Republic needs. The government must do everything it can to address the psychological warfare being waged by the ultra-right at the expense of the members of Europe’s largest, and most ill-treated, minority.
Dezideru Gergely is Executive Director at the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) and Gwen Albert is an independent Human Rights Activist and Researcher
© The EUobserver
Headlines 18 October, 2013
Police: Town centre head-butt attack was racially motivated (UK)
18/10/2013- A teenager who was sitting with his girlfriend on a town centre bench had his nose broken after being head-butted in a racially motivated attack. The couple were at Ormskirk Street, St Helens, near to the NatWest Bank, when a group of four or five teenagers approached them. One of them hurled abuse and butted the victim before fleeing towards Church Street. The victim suffered bruising and a broken nose. The 17-year-old was treated in hospital Detective Constable Michelle Cliffe said: “We believe this was a completely unprovoked attack on a boy who was just minding his own business. “As well as the physical injuries he suffered, this must have been very distressing for him and his partner and I'd ask for anyone with any information to get in contact.” The attacker is described as 17 to 18 years of age, of muscular build and around 6ft tall. He had closely cut brown hair and was wearing a grey Adidas tracksuit with a blue logo on the front. CCTV is being examined from the area and enquiries are on-going. Detectives from St Helens Hate Crime Investigation Unit team are appealing for information about the assault, which happened at Tuesday, October 1 at 1.10pm.
© St Helens Star
Councillor's migrant 'Machete' Twitter post investigated (UK)
A councillor's tweet which said a violent revenge film showed how "immigration issues" should be tackled is being investigated as a potential hate crime, police have said.
17/10/2013- Danny Mayzes, 25, became the youngest chairman of Tendring District Council in 2012 but stood down in May. Earlier this month, he tweeted that the film, Machete, showed "how you DEAL with immigration issues lol". Essex Police said they were looking into "an allegation of a hate crime". Mr Mayzes has yet to comment on the allegation. A police spokesman said the investigation followed "a tweet made by a Clacton councillor relating to views on immigration". He added that officers were "currently ascertaining whether any criminal offence has been committed". Peter Halliday, leader at the Conservative-controlled council, said the Conservative group had suspended Mr Mayzes. He added that "given the involvement of the police, it would be inappropriate to comment any further at this stage".
© BBC News
One in six gay people 'victim of hate crime' (UK)
Some 630,000 people have been victims in past three years says poll, which calls for police to take the problem more seriously
13/10/2013- One in six gay or bisexual people – about 630,000 individuals – has been victim of a homophobic hate crime or incident in the past three years, according to a report to be published this week. The alarming findings, based on a YouGov poll of 2,500 gay people and published in the Gay British Crime Survey 2013, will reinforce calls for the problem to be taken more seriously. The poll, commissioned by gay rights charity Stonewall, found that two-thirds of victims of hate crime did not report the incident to anyone. More than three-quarters did not report it to the police. Fewer than one in 10 victims who did report hate crimes to the police said it led to a conviction. And half of victims who reported a hate crime to police said it was recorded with no further action taken. There are also concerns about the attitude of the wider criminal justice system to homophobic hate crime.
Just a quarter of those who reported a crime or incident to the police were referred to a support group. And only one in five gay or bisexual people said they were confident that their police and crime commissioner would do something to address the problem in their region. "No one should live in fear of verbal or physical violence just because of the way they were born," said Stonewall's deputy chief executive, Ruth Hunt. "Despite radical steps to make police forces more accountable to the public, these figures show the disturbing levels of violence and intimidation faced every day by lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain. Most victims don't report abuse and, if they do turn to the police, they have low expectations that anyone will listen or act." However, in a sign that the police are keen to be seen to be taking the problem seriously, the survey will be launched at a seminar on Tuesday at New Scotland Yard by the Metropolitan police commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe. The seminar will also see the launch of a guide to help police and crime commissioners tackle homophobic hate crime.
The Stonewall survey found that one in 10 of those who had experienced a homophobic hate crime or incident had been physically assaulted. Almost a fifth of victims had been threatened with violence. One in eight experienced unwanted sexual contact. Half of hate crime perpetrators were said to be strangers and aged under 25. The picture that emerges from the survey is of a society in which many lesbian, gay and bisexual people feel unsafe in their homes and in their community. Two-thirds said that they felt at bigger risk of being insulted or harassed than heterosexual people. A quarter said they had felt a need to alter their behaviour so as not to be perceived as gay in order to avoid being the victim of crime. Many are repeat victims. Just over a third who had been insulted, intimidated or harassed said it had happened on four or more occasions.
A burgeoning concern is the rising level of online abuse directed at gay, lesbian and bisexual people. One in 20 said they had been the target of homophobic abuse online in the past year, including 7% of those aged 18 to 24. Almost half of those aged 18 to 24 had encountered homophobic abuse directed at someone else.Stonewall is calling for better training of police officers and control room staff to identify and record hate crimes. It also said there was a need for both the police and crime commissioners to engage more meaningfully with the gay community. "Britain's gay taxpayers contribute some £700m a year to the cost of policing," Hunt said. "While there's been some real progress in tackling hate crime in recent years, this evidence demonstrates starkly just how much more needs to be done."
© The Guardian
Norwegian neo-Nazi goes on race hate trial in France
Neo-Nazi writer and musician Kristian Vikernes, who has been convicted of murder and of burning churches in his native Norway, goes on trial in France Thursday, accused of glorifying war crimes and crimes against humanity.
17/10/201- A Norwegian neo-Nazi accused of inciting racial hatred is due to go on trial in France on Thursday. “Black Metal” musician Kristian Vikernes was arrested in July in France's central Corrèze region on suspicion of plotting terrorist attacks after his wife, a licensed gun-owner, bought shotguns and other weapons. He will be tried for “provoking racial hatred” and “glorifying war crimes” after police found allegedly anti-Semitic and racist material on his computer and his blog. He is also charged with “glorifying crimes against humanity”, for which he could face up to five years in prison. Vikernes, who was released on police bail after his arrest, has stated that he will attend court in order to “defend Europe against Judeo-Christianity”. He accuses Christians of being the “worst destroyers of culture, tradition, peoples and races” while calling for a return to a “pagan Europe”.
Vikernes, 40, is known in his native Norway as a black metal musician who set fire to churches and killed rival musician Øystein Aarseth in 1993. After his release from jail in 2009 he moved to France where he became a self-styled “survivalist”. Intelligence services suspected Vikernes of sympathising with Norwegian far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 77 people in a shooting spree in Norway in 2011. Vikernes admits that he downloaded Breivik’s ‘manifesto’ but has written that he disapproved of the mass-killer’s actions. “He’s very clear on this,” his lawyer Julien Fressynet said when Vikernes was arrested. “There is absolutely no link between him and Breivik.” Vikernes himself claims he is victim of a “campaign of terror at the hands of the [French] Socialist government” targeting him and his family. He has vowed to sue the French state.
© France 24.
Polish Jews say mosque torching reminiscent of Kristallnacht
18/10/2013- Representatives of the Jewish community of Gdansk, Poland, said the torching of a mosque had “frightening connotations” of the Nazi-inspired Kristallnacht pogroms against Jews. The association was inescapable, three of the city’s Jewish leaders wrote in a statement Thursday. “On the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, during which synagogues were burned in the Free City of Gdansk, the burning of the mosque must bear frightening connotations,” the statement said. Unidentified individuals started the fire early Wednesday morning. It consumed the mosque’s door and some of the equipment, resulting in damages to the tune of $16,000.
“In the face of this cowardly act of barbarism, Jews of Gdansk cannot stand idly by,” wrote the authors of the statement, Michal Samet, Michal Rucki and Mieczyslaw Abramowicz. “We express our deep indignation against the attack on the temple and the sadness of the fact that it took place in Gdansk.” Dozens of people died in pogroms that broke out in Germany, Austria and Gdansk — then the semi-autonomous free city of Danzig — on November 9, 1938, after Nazi officials and activists encouraged locals to target Jewish homes and businesses as retaliation for the slaying of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath in Paris by a Jewish 17-year-old boy from Hannover, Herschel Grynszpan, whose family had been deported to Poland by Nazi authorities.
© JTA News
Italy: Romani people attacked in Naples (Italy)
16/10/2013- The situation for Romani residents of Naples is deteriorating. On 15 October press agencies reported on an alleged “accident” in which acid was spilled onto a Romani child and his mother from a balcony above them. The incident occurred in the Fuorigrotta area of Naples. The press reported that non-Romani residents of Naples responded to the incident, tried to help the victims, and had bitter remarks to make about the alleged perpetrator, affirming that this was not the first time the Romani lady and her child had been targeted by this same person, who had previously thrown all kinds of things at them from her balcony, from toilet paper rolls to bleach. One of the locals interviewed said this was the first time that acid had been thrown. Other residents of the same apartment building said no one else had any complaints about their Romani neighbor, whom they described as polite.
According to some press agencies, the alleged perpetrator is claiming that what happened was an accident, but eyewitnesses claim it was deliberate. The child was taken to hospital; reportedly his clothing was damaged in the incident. On 12 October another alarming article directly quoted a social worker with a local pro-Roma organization, who has recently published an essay about the Romani community, as saying the following:
“For Romanian Romani men, prostitution is normal; if it’s Slavs instead, the situation becomes alarming because this takes place within the context of pedophilia. And the fact that their mothers favor this is even worse.”
The article reports that the social worker claimed that Romani minors are first being sexually abused in their own homes (by their uncles, for example) and are then “lent” to people outside the family to provide sexual services for money. Wives and sisters are said to be encouraged to prostitute themselves as well.This is said to be new to the Giugliano camp, which until recently has been inhabited predominantly by Romani people from the former Yugoslavia. Finally, on 3 October Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported that local non-Romani people in the Ponticelli area of Naples threw stones at a 22-year-old Romani man. According to the press, when the Romani man ran towards his attackers, he headed in the same direction as two local children, who screamed, prompting the mistaken belief among others that he was attempting to kidnap or otherwise harm the children. He was beaten up before the matter was clarified.
These are not the first such incidents of violence against Romani people in Naples in recent years. In 2008, Romani camps were set on fire in Ponticelli and a Romani minor was accused of having attempted to kidnap a local non-Romani child. Camps in Scampia were attacked during the summer of 1999.
Migrant killed in Moscow district scarred by race riots (Russia)
* Advocacy group says suspects Uzbek's death was revenge killing * Earlier killing of ethnic Russian led to riots, nationalist threats * Many Muscovites resent influx of mostly Muslim migrants
16/10/2013- A migrant worker was found stabbed to death on Wednesday in a Moscow neighbourhood rocked this week by race riots, in what a community leader suggested was a revenge attack for the killing of an ethnic Russian. Last Thursday's slaying of Yegor Shcherbakov in Biryulyovo, heavily populated by immigrants from ex-Soviet Central Asian and Caucasus states, unleashed the capital's worst race riots for three years. Before a suspect in Shcherbakov's death was arrested on Tuesday, crowds of Russians had roamed Biryulyovo's streets hunting for non-Slavic men who matched a police description of his alleged killer. A police source said the corpse of a citizen of predominantly Muslim Uzbekistan was found in the district on Wednesday, news agency Interfax reported. "We warned migrants to be careful of nationalist scum, and now the body of an Uzbek has been found," Mukhamad Amin Madzhumder, head of the Federation of Migrants of Russia, said.
Migrant labour has played a significant economic role in Russia during an oil-fuelled boom that took off around the time President Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000. But many Muscovites resent the influx into the capital of migrant labourers from mostly Muslim ex-Soviet states, and have called for tougher policing and visa restrictions. State TV showed footage of 25-year-old Shcherbakov's alleged killer - from Azerbaijan and named by police as Orhan Zeynalov - being detained in the city of Kolomna on Tuesday and flown to Moscow by helicopter. In a video released by police, Zeynalov admitted stabbing Shcherbakov but said he had acted in self-defence. In a third day of unrest in Biryulyovo, police late on Tuesday detained hundreds of nationalist youths who had gathered to protest Shcherbakov's killing. It was the worst outbreak of race-related unrest in Moscow since December 2010, when several thousand rioted near the Kremlin.
Race riots in Moscow (Russia)
16/10/2013- Russian investigators have detained a suspect in the murder of a Russian man that has set off race riots in Moscow over the weekend. A 30-year-old suspect named Orkhan Zeynalov, a native of Azerbaijan, was detained in a town outside Moscow before being transported to Moscow and paraded in front of Vladimir Kolokoltsev, who head Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry. Moscow police said Zeynalov confessed to the crime in an ‘informal conversation’ with officers escorting him to Moscow. Police in the Russian capital on Oct. 15 detained 276 people who were protesting against Saturday's stabbing, which has raised tensions between ethnically Russian people and natives of the predominantly Muslim Caucasus region of Russia, many of whom have migrated to major Russian cities for work.
The protesters had gathered on Tuesday evening outside a metro station near a working-class district on the southern outskirts of the Russian capital, where the stabbing occurred. Ethnic Russians on Sunday rioted over the stabbing death, attacking buildings in the area and prompting hundreds to be temporarily detained. Russian authorities on Monday rounded up more than 1,000 migrant workers - many of them from the Caucasus - at a vegetable warehouse in the area as they sought the killer. Tensions have long simmered between Russians and natives of the Caucasus region, and violence between the two groups has grown more common.
© Jewish News 1
Russian gay-rights rally attacked
12/10/2013- Dozens of Orthodox protesters chanting hymns and prayers have attacked a gay-rights rally in Saint Petersburg, leading to arrests on both sides. About 20 gay-rights activists had gathered in the centre of Russia's second city for the Saturday rally, waving rainbow flags and signs with messages such as "Stop homophobia in Russia!" But the rally was cut short when a group of about 50 Orthodox Christian counter-demonstrators, singing and reciting prayers, attacked the activists, witnesses said. Police broke up the fight and arrested activists from both sides, about 20 people in all. Gay rights is a divisive issue in Russia, where homosexuality was considered a crime until 1993 and a mental illness until 1999. In June, President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial new law against "gay propaganda" that has drawn international condemnation and calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in southwestern Russia.
© Sky News
Police figures show drop in reported hate crime (Finland)
The number of hate crimes reported to the police fell by 20 percent last year. Online hate crime also decreased, from 38 reported incidents in 2011 to 26 in 2012.
14/10/2013- Altogether the police were asked to investigate 732 hate crimes in 2012, of which 641 were classified as racist. In 2011 hate crimes totalled 918, with 788 involving racism. That indicates a fall in reported hate crime of 20.62 percent. Despite concern over online comments and some high profile convictions for blog posts in recent years, the number of hate crime reports focused on writings on the internet dropped too, from 38 instances in 2011 to 26 in 2012. The most common offence investigated was inciting ethnic hatred. The suspects were mostly white Finns, but there were three cases in which the suspect himself belonged to a minority. The targets of hate crime were most commonly immigrants, but in six cases suspects had attacked a religion and in three cases a sexual minority.
© YLE News.
Synagogues in Germany hit by over 80 attacks between 2008 and 2012
Israeli experts says there's a strong connection between anti-Israelism and anti-Semitism behind the attacks.
13/110/2013- The German government announced in a written statement last week that at least 82 attacks took place on synagogues within a five year period. In response to a parliamentary questionnaire by the German Left Party, the federal government wrote that most of the attacks (24) occurred in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate registered 13 attacks, the second largest number of anti-Jewish assaults on synagogues.
In 2010, The Jerusalem Post reported that a synagogue in the city of Worms, in Rhineland- Palatinate state, was attacked by arsonists. The vandals left a note connecting their torching of the synagogue with the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The regional paper Wiesbadener Kurier reported at the time that German police found eight copies of a note written in “awkward” German, claiming responsibility for the blaze. “So long as you do not give the Palestinians peace, we are not going to give you peace,” read the note.
According to German media reports, the yearly numbers of synagogue attacks varied between 21 in 2008 to nine in 2010. The number of cases, which were documented by the Federal criminal agency, covered property damage (roughly 30 instances) and the use of symbols from constitutionally banned organizations (29 cases). An additional 17 cases involved incitement to hate.
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, a leading Israeli expert on modern anti-Semitism, told the Post on Sunday, “Israel has been frequently blackened in Europe over many years by leading politicians, media and senior members of civil society. This has helped, bringing out again... the classic anti-Semitism which was latent and politically incorrect after the Second World War yet never disappeared. Laying the connection between the extreme anti-Israelism and classic anti-Semitism is largely taboo in European circles, even though it is obvious.”
He continued, “At the beginning of the past decade, the University of Bielefeld found that 51 percent of Germans agreed with the demonizing statement that Israel behaves toward the Palestinians like the Nazis behaved toward the Jews. In 2011, the same university asked Germans whether they agreed with the statement that Israel conducts a war of extermination against the Palestinians. Forty-seven percent of those polled answered in the affirmative. If so many people have such an unfounded, extreme, wicked opinion about others, all that that indicates is that one self has a criminal mindset. In such a societal climate much worse things can happen than graffiti and other attacks on synagogue buildings.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in August that she felt “very ashamed” that police had to be deployed to protect Jewish organizations and institutions in Germany from damage and attacks. Shimon Samuels, the director for international relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told the Post from Paris that “the main problem is Germany is doing well in fighting for Holocaust memory but not against anti-Semitism.” He added that if you decouple Holocaust memory from the victims of today it is worthless. He cited incendiary anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic Arab books at the Frankfurt Book Fair, as well as “Iranian children books extolling the religious obligation to jihad and suicide.”
Meanwhile, Martin Karplus, the Austrian-born Jewish chemist and winner of the Noble Prize in chemistry last week, said there is still anti-Semitism in Austria. The Austrian news outlet ORF (Austrian Broadcasting) reported that Karplus, the 83-year-old Harvard professor who fled Nazi Austria, commented on a personal experience with anti-Jewish sentiments in Vienna. While searching for a street named after his uncle – the distinguished neurologist Dr. Johann Palu Karplus – he asked the owner of a small hotel where the street is. Karplus said the woman answered that “she does not understand how one can name a street after a Jew.”
Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, a social democratic politician in Vienna, said Austria suffered an “intellectual vacuum” through the loss of scores of people who fled the Nazis. Mailath-Pokorny added Karplus is an “important part of this intellectual elite” who had to flee Vienna. He listed some of the important political and intellectual figures who fled Austria, including the late mayor of Jerusalem Teddy Kollek and the former editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post Ari Rath.
Samuel Laster, a close observer of Austria-Jewish relations and editor-in-chief of the online news outlet The Jewish, told the Post that “Jews in Austria find themselves prisoners between the ‘old’ Jewish hostility in the FPÖ [Freedom Party of Austria known as right-wing extremist and xenophobic] of the populists... and those of left-wing haters of Israel.” Laster added that the left-wing, anti-Israel activists carry out their activities on the fringe wing of the social democrats.
© The Jerusalem Post
Jewish extorted, beaten by Ukrainian police
13/10/2013- In the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, a Ukrainian-Jewish man named Dmitry Flekman has reported that two men who identified themselves as police officers assaulted him at a police station while trying to extort money from him. Flekman, aged 28, posted his story on the Ukrainian Jewish website evreiskiy.kiev.ua. He alleges the officers demanded USD 10,000 from him and threatened to search his apartment where they would “find” cocaine. The assailants reportedly beat him with something resembling a crowbar and when they discovered he was Jewish they made him sit on the floor and urinated on him. The Chief of Police in Lviv denies that Flekman was beaten however Flekman’s claims are being investigated. As proof of the attack, Flekman provided photos of his hospital release form showing he needed medical attention. He reportedly sustained a fractured tailbone.
Ukraine has a long history of anti-Semitism and reports still occasionally surface of Jews being targeted for their religion. Last month FIFA censured Ukraine’s football fans for racist chants and making neo-Nazi gestures. Historically, before World War II Lviv was a proudly multicultural city with a thriving Jewish community. During the war however Western Ukraine was under the control of the Nazis and Ukrainian collaborators who all but destroyed the community. Today Western Ukraine is home to a nationalist movement and is the base of power for opposition political party Svoboda, which means freedom in Ukrainian. The group has made numerous anti-Semitic comments in the past and has referred to Jews as Zhids which roughly translates in English to “dirty Jews.”
© Jewish News 1
Gay man left paralyzed in vicious New Glasgow attack (Canada)
Police say man is in critical but stable condition
12/10/2013- The friends and family of a man who was stabbed in a vicious attack in New Glasgow, N.S., leaving him paralyzed, say they believe he was targeted because he's gay. New Glasgow police said a 27-year-old man was airlifted to Halifax hospital with critical injuries Saturday morning after police discovered the victim lying on a downtown street after he was stabbed. Police were on a routine patrol shortly before 2:30 a.m. local time when they saw a man on the ground near the intersection of Archimedes Street and Forbes Street. After closer inspection they saw that the man was stabbed. Amy Punke said she and a group of friends, including her 27-year-old roommate Scott Jones, were out celebrating the opening of a friend's art studio. She said the group decided to leave one bar and go to another. She went ahead and did not witness the attack. "He was walking with a friend and two men, who had previously been at the bar we were at, came running across the street. One of the men distracted Scott’s friend and the other man stabbed Scott twice in the back and tried to slit his throat," she said.
Severed spinal cord
The injury to Jones' throat was superficial, said Punke, but the stabbing severed Jones' spinal cord leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. According to Punke — who has been speaking to Jones and has been by his side in hospital — when one of the attackers grabbed the victim, he whispered something in his ear before stabbing him. Jones told Punke he doesn't remember what the man said. She said she doesn’t know why anyone would want to hurt Jones. "Myself, and his family and the people that know him, we feel that he may have been targeted because of the fact that he’s gay — and he’s openly gay in town," said Punke. She said Jones is very well known in New Glasgow. "He's a musician and he’s very open about his sexuality in that he encourages conversation. In fact just two days ago we were talking about him going to high schools and junior high and talking to teens that are afraid of coming out. Just the nature of the evening and the people that we were with and the fact that he was targeted out of all of us," said Punke.
Jones was taken to Aberdeen Hospital but then was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax. Police said the victim remains in critical but stable condition. Police said they are still in the preliminary stages of the investigation and it’s too early to say what the motive may have been or exactly what happened early Saturday morning. Police are asking that anyone with information on the stabbing to contact police.
© CBC News
Headlines 11 October, 2013
Draft adding hate crimes to Turkish criminal code completed
10/10/2013- The government has taken another step toward realizing its promises in the “democracy package” by completing a draft on hate crimes. The draft, which is set to be sent to Parliament in the upcoming days, will designate hate and prejudice as an aggravation cause for crimes regulated in eight articles of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK). The prison sentences for hate or prejudice-driven crimes will be multiplied and “intervention into lifestyles” enters into law as a crime for the first time, according to the draft. Hate and prejudice crimes are defined as “crimes committed based on someone’s or some group’s language, ethnicity, nationality, skin color, gender, disability condition, political views, philosophical beliefs, religion or sect.”
If one commits a crime such as intentional murder, wounding, torture or threat based one of the above-written characteristics of the victim, the penalty to be imposed on the offender will be made considerably harsher. Intentional homicide, for instance, will be sentenced to life imprisonment if it was driven by hate or prejudice. The only exception to penalty increases will be in insult crimes, which will no longer be punished with a jail sentence if the draft passes into law.
The tightening of hate crime penalties was announced by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdođan as part of the “democracy package,” which was presented as an initiative to extend rights given to Turkey’s disadvantaged minorities. Although most of the unveiled reforms have been hailed, some find the promises insufficient and accuse the government of lacking willingness to target the real issues facing Turkey.
Muslim students subject to hate crime (Canada)
Police investigate incident where six students physically and verbally assaulted by group of four men
10/10/2013- Six Queen’s students are the victims of a hate crime that took place on Sunday, according to Kingston police. The male students, who self-identify as Muslim, were walking home from Empire Theatres near Division St. and Highway 401 at approximately 1:30 a.m. when they were assaulted by four Caucasian males. The assault itself happened closer to the downtown core, at Fraser and Patrick Streets. Approximated to be between 18-25 years old, the group approached the students on bicycles, yelling hate-based profanities and racial slurs while wielding a baseball bat. One of the victims of the attack said they were approached by the males, who were drunk and offering to sell them drugs. “As they turned onto Fraser St. these four guys started chasing [us] who are all Muslim and they started screaming out … foul languages and racial hate speeches,” the student said, adding they originally thought the attackers wielded a machete. “We were terrified because we thought it was really a machete and the guy was going to literally slit open and kill everyone,” he said. “They caught one guy and they hit him on the biceps and the thigh area, but it turned out to be a baseball bat, not a machete.”
The attack, which Kingston Police have classified as a hate crime, left one student with minor injuries. Steve Koopman, Kingston Police media relations officer, said police don’t suspect the assailants to be Queen’s students, given the area the assault took place. He added the victims, who were unable to be contacted, had no association with their attackers. “The fact that they are visible minorities is why we feel it’s a hate-based crime,” Koopman said. “They did not know them … there was no reason for an assault to occur.” Police are currently investigating and looking for the suspects, one of which was photographed by the students. “We are treating it seriously,” he said. “It wasn’t just a simple assault, as there was a weapon involved with one of the suspects.” As of Thursday afternoon, the third assailant, a 20-year-old Kingston male, was arrested to be formally charged with Assault with a Weapon, Uttering Threats and Breach of Probation. The first two accused arrested were Kenneth J. Murphy, 19-years-old, and Clayton R. Lee, 18-years-old. Police are still investigating and looking to identify, arrest and charge the fourth and last assailant associated with the attack.
© Queen's University- The Journal
Shots Fired at Russian Synagogue in Yekaterinburg (Russia)
Two Bullets Hit Shul — No One Hurt
9/10/2013- Shots were fired at the synagogue of Yekaterinburg, the Russian Jewish Congress said, breaking windows but not injuring anyone. At least two bullets hit the building housing the synagogue on Monday, according to the Russian Jewish Congress team that monitors anti-Semitism. No one was hurt, Matvey Chlenov, deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress, told JTA. The shots did damage the building, including some broken windows. The incident is under police investigation. Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, has a Jewish population of approximately 6,500, according to Michael Oshtrakh, chairman of the Sverdlovsk Regional Society of Jewish Culture Hatikva. In March, a Jewish community center in Perm, a city in central Russia located 185 miles northeast of Yekaterinburg, sustained minor damage in what police said may have been attempted arson and an anti-Semitic hate crime.
© The Forward
Vandals target Muslim leader's car and leave racist note on windscreen (UK)
Brentford man believes he was targeted by English Defence League for wearing religious clothes
10/10/2013- A spate of racist vandalism has hit Brentford in recent weeks sparking local condemnation. The crimes started when a shocked father found his number plate defaced and a racist note on his car claiming to come from the English Defence League. Muhammed Abu Sayed Ansarey went to his Honda Civic in the public car park in Coates Walk, Brentford, on September 28 to find a note under his windscreen wiper telling him to ‘park in your own car park at the top or else’, accompanied by racist swearing and signed off supposedly from the English Defence League (EDL) and British National Party (BNP). His car number plate also had permanent marker pen on it joining up letters and numbers to form different ones. The 34-year-old chairman of the West London Muslim Centre in Isleworth is a blue badge holder because he has poor mobility due to a tumour in his leg muscle.
Originally from Bangladesh, Mr Ansarey has been in the UK for 11 years and has lived just off Ealing Road in Brentford for the past six years with his children and wife. He is also a campaigner for the Hounslow Labour Party and runs the Arabic School at Hounslow Jamia Masjid and Islamic Centre. He said: “I was rushing to my work place and went to my car where I normally park and I found this racist note on my car. I was embarrassed when I read it because my children were with me. I was really shocked and frustrated by it, and they had also damaged my car. “They took the Honda sign off and defaced my number plate which not even the car wash could remove. “I called the police straight away, the officer was really, really helpful but I’m utterly shocked and depressed by this. I think they may have targeted us because we wear long religious clothes when we go to pray and my wife wears a head scarf but at the West London Muslim Centre we are open to everybody, of any religion and race. “Councillor Ruth Cadbury and our MP, Mary Macleod, have both come along. We’re always peaceful people and don’t get involved with extremism and radicalism.”
The BNP responded furiously to the news their name was being used in conjunction with racism. A spokesperson said: “It’s definitely not from the BNP because racism is illegal in this country. We are a political party and not in the habit of racially abusing members of the public. We have members who are mixed race and in mixed race relationships. The EDL is not a political party so we cannot be lumped in with them.” Just a week after Mr Ansarey’s incident, several members of the public reported grafitti in Lion Way, Brentford, where a wall was emblazoned with ‘EDL’ and the street sign had been altered to say ‘3 Lions Way’, referring to the crest on England football shirts. Brentford councillor, Ruth Cadbury expressed her sadness and anger over the two incidents following many years without racist activity of that nature. She said: “We cannot let this abhorrent behaviour go unchallenged. I have been heartened by the support of the local police, and the speedy clean up by Hounslow Highways in Lion Way. “The Brentford Safer Neighbourhood team panel will be discussing it at their meeting this week. I would urge local residents to report any incidents they see to the police, their local councillors and Hounslow’s hate crime team.”
The police are currently investigating both incidents. The EDL did not respond to the Chronicle’s request for a comment.
© Get West London
Woman guilty of hate theft from disabled man (UK)
A carer has admitted a Disabled Hate Crime against the handicapped person she was looking after.
8/10/2013- Kelly Staniford admitted theft of thousands of pounds from a cerebral palsy sufferer when she made her first appearance before Blackpool Magistrates. Staniford of Roxburgh Avenue, Blackpool, was said by the prosecution to have stolen £10,507.50 from her victim’s bank account. However her lawyer Steven Townley said that amount would be contested. He told the court:”From the paperwork I have studied the figure is only £5,300.” Magistrates were told the charge was covered by the Disabled Hate Crime legislation and was significant breach of trust. The theft had taken place between February 2012 and July 2013. Magistrates agreed their powers were not sufficient to sentence Staniford and said the case must be sent to Preston Crown Court. Staniford was bailed until her appearance at the higher court on November 7.She bailed on condition she has no contact with her victim or his mother.
© The Blackpool Gazette
Student stabbed in face in racist attack (UK)
6/10/2013- A foreign student was stabbed in the face by two strangers in a racist attack. The 27-year-old student from Libya was standing at a bus stop opposite Lidl, in Arundel Road, Kemp Town, on Wednesday when he was attacked. Two men approached him and swore at him before stabbing him with a knife. They ran off and did not steal anything. One suspect was described as white, aged 25, about 6' 1', slim build and wearing a red T-shirt, dark jeans, a black baseball style cap with long hair sticking out the back. The other was described as white, aged 25, 5' 11', slim build, with light brown hair shaved. He had bad teeth and was wearing jeans, a white T-shirt and a blue hooded top. Detective Constable Sophie Tullett said: "The victim had to have stitches to the wound to his face and was obviously very upset about what happened. "We are treating this as a racist attack and appealing for any witnesses to come forward."
© The Argus
Headlines 4 October, 2013
Good Samaritan Prevents Stabbing of Jewish Teen on Paris Street (France)
Classmate Spewed Anti-Semitic Hate During Attack
4/10/2013- A passerby stopped a schoolboy from stabbing a Jewish classmate in Paris. The attempted stabbing on Sept. 24 in Paris’ 16th arrondissement ended without serious injury thanks to the intervention of the man who was riding his scooter when he noticed a fight, SPCJ, the security service of France’s Jewish community, reported Thursday. The attacker hurled anti-Semitic insults at the boy, including “dirty Jew” and threatened to kill him while brandishing a knife. He also punched the Jewish boy, SPCJ reported.
The passerby helped the 16-year-old Jewish boy, identified only as A., fend off his attacker, and took the boy on his scooter to police, who later arrested the suspected attacker. The report did not name any of the people involved. According to the report, the violence started after the attacker demanded the victim give him his wallet during class at school, while the teacher was away. The Jewish boy refused and the attacker followed him out of school accompanied by three friends, who helped the attacker corner the Jewish boy. The attacker’s friends also prevented him from stabbing the Jewish boy by restraining him, but he broke loose of their hold and picked up the knife again until the passerby intervened.
© The Forward
Woman fined for hitting burka-wearer (UK)
4/10/2013- A woman has been fined for shouting racist remarks and punching a woman wearing a burka in south-east London. Tracy Davies, 46, of Charlton Lane, Charlton, was found guilty on Wednesday of racially aggravated common assault. Bexley Magistrates' Court heard she attacked the Somali woman, 55, who was shopping with her daughter in Woolwich town centre. Davies was ordered to pay a £150 fine, £100 compensation, and £105 to cover costs.
The court heard that shoppers in Woolwich town centre immediately went to the woman's aid and gave the police statements when they arrived. Supt Parm Sandhu said of the 29 June incident: "Davies' racist and repugnant remarks were simply triggered by seeing a woman in a burka. "This attack was completely unprovoked and the result of sheer bigotry."
© BBC News
Hate crimes double in Crewe in six months (UK)
Crewe police see reports of hate crime double in last six months
2/10/2013- The number of hate crimes reported in Crewe more than doubled in the last six months, the Chronicle can reveal. Between the beginning of March and the end of August this year, a total of 55 hate crimes were recorded by police in the town, compared to just 21 between September and February. These are crimes which target a person’s religion, disability, race, sexual orientation or gender and can include assault, harassment and even arson. Hate crime can also take the form of threats or verbal abuse, and can often cause victims ongoing psychological distress.
In August this year, the Chronicle reported how police were investigating an incident where a 12-year-old boy had been attacked in a racially-aggravated assault at Crewe’s BMX track. The boy ended up in hospital after he was verbally abused and then assaulted. But despite this apparent increase in hate crime in the town, Crewe police say the latest figures aren’t necessarily a bad sign. In the past few months, the force has vowed to ensure people don’t suffer in silence and has been actively working to increase the number of people reporting hate crime.
Sgt David Levins, who was appointed as the single point of contact for hate crime in the Crewe area, said: “The force has really put an emphasis on improving the way we deal with hate crime recently – and it’s definitely having a positive impact. “The way we record hate crimes has changed and there are more ways for people to report it. “Third parties can now report hate crime too – places like the YMCA, hospitals and care homes. “We’ve been interacting more within the community, especially at places like mosques and the Polish shops, and many of our PCSOs have been getting a great response. “It’s all about building people’s confidence so they feel happy to talk to us about their experiences.”
In Cheshire’s Eastern area, the most prolific type of hate crimes were those targeted at someone’s race. Between April 2012 and March 2013, 128 racially-aggravated crimes were reported to police. But, as Sgt Levins explained, race crimes are the most straightforward hate crimes for police to record. He said: “Race crimes are generally the easiest to clarify, especially compared to crimes to do with sexual orientation, which might not be quite so clear cut. “It can sometimes be hard to prove whether a crime is committed because of someone’s race, religion or gender, or just in spite of it. “However, we’re actively working to get on top of hate crime and all our officers can be contacted if you believe you’re a victim. “If you genuinely believe a crime has been committed because of some hate element, it will be taken seriously, and we will do our best to investigate. “We’re determined to get it right every single time.”
Last month, police chiefs across Cheshire, including crime commissioner John Dwyer and assistant chief constable Ruth Purdie, led a hate crime conference aimed at finding ways to tackle the issue. ACC Purdie said: “Across Cheshire we’ve seen an increase in people reporting hate crime. “We want this figure to increase as victims become more confident when reporting crimes to the police.” Mr Dwyer added: “I want to make sure that the service victims of hate crime get from Cheshire Constabulary is the best. “Speaking to a variety of people and discussing some of the incidents they’ve heard about or been involved in is harrowing to hear. “It’s important that the police hear about any form of hate crime that you or someone you know has experienced. “If they’re not made aware of it, they are unable to help. I can assure you that you will be listened to, and such crimes will be thoroughly investigated.”
© The Crewe Chronicle
Ex-neo-Nazi party members reveal criminal acts in Greece
1/10/2013- Greece’s Golden Dawn neo-Nazi party regularly organized “assault militias” in which dozens of members would ride the streets on motorbikes, hitting immigrants with sticks, according to a government report and testimonies cited in the Greek press Monday. “I took part several times in activities involving 50 or 60 motorbikes, with two people on each. The one who was sitting behind held a stick with the Greek flag and hit all the Pakistanis he could see,” one ex-member said in court testimony. Greek police arrested the controversial party’s founder Nikos Michaloliakos, five prominent Golden Dawn lawmakers and more than a dozen other suspected members – including police officers – amid high tensions following the murder of anti-fascist musician Pavlos Fyssas, allegedly stabbed to death by a self-confessed Golden Dawn supporter on Sept. 18.
Testimonies from two former members, along with a report by an examining magistrate revealed a series of “criminal acts,” press reports said. Golden Dawn has a “strictly hierarchical structure, the leader is all-powerful following the principle used by Hitler,” said the report by the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court, Charalambos Vourliotis. The neo-Nazi party started its attacks in 1987, the report said, initially targeting immigrants and then turning against Greeks. The magistrate’s report said party members were trained in military style and had allegedly committed dozens of criminal acts, including voluntary homicide and attempted homicide.
Police Monday continued their raids on Golden Dawn premises, searching for hidden arms supplies. A search of Golden Dawn deputy leader Christos Pappas’ home in the northwestern city of Ioannina turned up photographs of Adolf Hitler, swastikas and German army helmets, reports said. Greek authorities Monday were examining ways to cut off Golden Dawn’s funding from the state, to which all parliamentary parties are nominally entitled. The Justice Ministry said it would table rush legislation to stop the institutional flow of state funds to the party. Under the legislation, state funding would be suspended for a party if any members of its leadership or lawmakers were being prosecuted for felonies.
Golden Dawn, a formerly fringe nationalist group with neo-Nazi roots, enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity during Greece’s financial crisis. With 18 lawmakers in the 300-member Parliament, it is slated to receive more than 873,000 euros ($1.18 million) in 2013. “Democracy cannot fund its rivals,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos. “Therefore when you have a criminal organization which is operating inside a political party, there must be sanctions regarding funding.” Under the new legislation, funding would be suspended pending a trial outcome, Venizelos said.
© The Daily Star
Czech Republic: Brutal assault began with words "why are you talking to a Gypsy?"
1/10/2013- A brutal assault was perpetrated this summer on a 45-year-old man who stood up for a friend of his in a bar in Bystřice pod Hostýnem. All three nationwide television stations (Czech Television, TV Nova and TV Prima) have reported on the incident. The attack took place on 20 July in the Las Vegas bar. Police have not yet managed to apprehend the perpetrators and have now released video footage of the incident in which the assailants' faces can be seen. The footage shows two friends normally having a beer in the bar. After a verbal skirmish with two other men, however, one of them is punched in the abdomen and then to the head. "They accosted me first. They asked me why I was talking with a Gypsy, so I told them he isn't a Gypsy," Marcel Kolařík described the start of the conflict.
When Josef Utěkal of Bystřice stood up for Kolařík, the assailants proceeded to attack Utěkal with indiscriminate brutality. "They pushed me to the ground and one ran up and kicked me in the eye with his heel. They kept punching me just to that eye and after that I don't know what happened," Utěkal describes the brutal attack. Utěkal does not believe the assailants are locals of Bystřice and said he had never seen them before in his life. "When I helped him to sit up a bit, there was a pool of blood underneath him twice my size," Kolařík said. From the video footage it is clear this was no ordinary brawl. One of the assailants, who seems to have lost his senses, punches Utěkal on the ground long after he has lost consciousness.
Utěkal came to in the hospital. Besides a severe brain concussion, he has also sustained serious injury to his left eye. To this day he is suffering from strong headaches. His eye has been operated on twice and he evidently will live with the aftermath of his injures for the rest of his life. "They gave me skin grafts. One side is still dead," Utěkal said. "We have categorized the crime as felony rioting and grievous bodily harm," says Simona Kryšnerová, spokesperson for the police in Kroměříž. Both assailants face up to 10 years in prison.
"If the victim was assaulted because of either his actual or perceived nationality, i.e., because the attacker believed the victim is Romani, then the assault can be qualified as grievous bodily harm motivated by ethnic, national, racial or religious hatred. In such cases the perpetrator can face up to 12 years in prison. The person afflicted in this case is a particularly vulnerable victim and has the right to both legal and social aid. The In IUSTITIA organization offers both free of charge," Klára Kalibová of the In IUSTITIA organization told news server Romea.cz. No one has identified the assailants as of yet. "Detectives are investigating the incident but have not yet managed to apprehend the perpetrators," Kyšnerová said.
Video footage from TV Nova's coverage of the incident
Five face criminal charges over anti-Roma clash in Moravia (Czech Rep.)
28/9/2013- The Czech police have levelled criminal accusations against five of the 21 people detained during the police's clash with a radical crowd trying to get to a Roma-inhabited dormitory in Ostrava on Friday, police spokeswoman Gabriela Holcakova told CTK. The five have been accused of attacking a public official, breaching the public peace and harming other people's property. The remaining 16 people probably committed offences. The accused have been released as there are no reasons to take them into custody. Two of them are juveniles aged 16 and 17, the remaining three are from 18 to 22 years old, Holcakova said. The police say the accused threw stones and glass bottles at the policemen intervening against the radicals.
After the meeting organised by the ultra-right Workers' Party of Social Justice (DSSS) on Friday, a crowd of several hundreds of radicals tried to get to a local dormitory, inhabited mainly by Roma, which the police prevented by barring the way. Several radicals and policemen were injured in the following violent clashes. It took the police more than an hour to disperse the crowd. They were assisted by the municipal police, including mounted officers, and tear gas was also used. A previous anti-Roma demonstration in Ostrava, held in August, also resulted in a conflict between the participants and the police. The police then arrested 62 people, ten of whom have been accused of crime.
Moravia-Silesia police director Tomas Kuzel told CTK that the police's intervention in August and that on Friday were equally demanding. "However, I must say that the aggressiveness of the demonstrators is growing," Kuzel said. He previously said the August raid cost over one million crowns and further 160,000-crown damage was caused to the police property.
© The Prague Daily Monitor
video shows moment right-wing thugs launch brutal ambush attack at anti-fascist meeting (UK)
They were among a gang who without warning set upon their heavily outnumbered victims on their way to the event in a pre-planned attack
28/9/2013- This is the shocking moment six right-wing thugs, aged as young as 17, ambushed an anti-fascist meeting and handed out a vicious gang beating. The men, supporters of the English Defence Force and North West Infidels, stormed a bookshop and threw a series of punches and kicks during the double-quick attack. CCTV video captured the yobs piling into the small store, with their faces covered to protect their identity, and outnumbering their rivals as they unleashed indiscriminate blows to leave their victims bruised and battered. Witnesses described three 'punks' beating the anti-fascists to the floor, injuring one man so badly he had a golf-ball sized lump to his head. The violence then spilled from the street in Liverpool city centre to a nearby cafe, where the violence continued among shocked diners. The gang left their victims battered and bruised and ran off, covering the lower half of their faces to hide their identity as they ran.
But a Merseyside police inspector saw the gang running from the scene and recognised a teenager among the group. He relayed information to the police control room, then carried on chasing the offenders and, as they vaulted a fence, arrested one defendant, 22-year-old Matthew Coates. Two more were arrested shortly after the attack, on July 6 last year, and others identified from CCTV of the area. Six were today jailed at Liverpool Crown Court while a seventh defendant failed to attend and is now being hunted by police. Michael Kearns, 41, of Liverpool, Liam Pinkham, 24, Wallasey, Merseyside, Shane Calvert, 31, of Blackburn, Peter Hawley, 53, of Blackburn, Matthew Coates, 22, Southport and Steven Dumont, 18, of Liverpool all pleaded guilty to violent disorder at an earlier hearing. Kearns was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment, Pinkham was jailed for 17 months, Coates was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and Calvert received a 14 month jail term. Hawley was jailed for 13 months and Dumont was jailed for five months imprisonment for violent disorder and four months for a public order offence, to run consecutively. Nathan Smith, 21, of Huyton, Liverpool, failed to appear at court today and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
Detective Constable Mike Russell, of the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "Not only did these men descend on the victims, but they carried out the attack in front of members of the public. "They knew that there was a Unite Against Fascism benefit event taking place in the city centre that night and they specifically targeted their victims following various disputes between the two opposing groups. "As a result of the investigation, the men have been convicted of violent disorder."
© The Mirror