Far-Right March and Counter-Protest Planned For Mayday In Brno

The centre of Brno is expected to be filled with demonstrators and police on May 1st, as both far-right groups and their opponents are planning large demonstrations, and hundreds of police officers have been mobilised to attend the events. Photo: Training of the South Moravian special riot unit. / Credit: Policie CR.

Brno, Apr 30 (BD) – Mayday is a traditional day of political action around the world, and this year in Brno will be no different. A demonstration is being organised by far-right groups wishing to march through the city, and a counter-demonstration has been planned by the initiative Brno Blokuje [“Brno Blocks”]. Brno Police are putting in place a range of security measures. Kateřina Dobešová, spokeswoman for the Brno-Střed district where the demonstrations will take place, commented on the events to Brnensky Denik: “On May 1, we have, among other events, a gathering of supporters of the National and Social Front and the group ‘Say No to the Neo-Nazi March’. We will oversee the course of events from the perspective of the law and the right to assembly. We are consulting the police on security measures.”

Police security measures will involve police officers from the South Moravian special riot squad as well as civic police. They have a helicopter and other special equipment. Quoted in Brnensky Denik, Karel Molák, commander of the South Moravian special riot unit, explained more: “We now have a powerful directional loudspeaker through which we can address the crowd, so no one will be able to argue any longer that they have not heard the police instructions, because it is really a very powerful device.” Despite the measures, Pavel Šváb, spokesman for Brno Police, advised against travelling into the centre unless necessary.

The far-right march, organised by the National and Social Front, will start on Zelný Trh at 19:00. It will then proceed via Orlí, Masarykova, Nádražní, Hybešova, Václavská, and Křížová, finishing on Mendlovo náměstí. According to information circulated on social media, participants will march in triple with flags and torches. The organisers are expecting around 200 people to join.

Opponents of the far-right march, gathering under the Brno Blokuje initiative, will meet on Dominikanské náměstí at 16:00. “As in the last two years, we are not going to organize a blockade of the right-wing extremists this year. We want our assembly to be non-violent. At Dominikanské náměstí, we are preparing musical performances and speeches, such as Fedor Gál,” said Václav Pecl, an organiser of the event, quoted in Brnensky Denik. The initiative has invited participants to take pictures, prepare theatrical performances, banners, or dance. The counter-protest will then move along Dominikánská to Šilingrovo náměstí, then down Husova to Nádražní.

The far-right and their opponents clashed most recently in Brno two years ago. The police made eleven arrests from each side. The event made international headlines after a photo of a demonstrator shouting into the face of a girl scout went viral. (Read more in our previous story: “Police Deal with a Facebook Page Calling for a Lynch of a Girl Scout from Brno”.)

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