Czech clergyman: Police seriously violated people’s basic constitutional rights in Krupka

One thousand specially trained police officers violently dispersed a religious gathering and ecumenical service on Saturday, 9 April in the town of Krupka near Ústí nad Labem. The officers did so in order to make it possible for members and sympathizers of the Workers’ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti – DSS) which openly espouses the ideology of National Socialism (Nazism), to march through the space.

Ludvík Šťastný, a 75-year-old Greek Catholic clergyman from nearby Trmice, Pavel Šindler, a clergyman with the Evangelical Church of the Czech Brethren (Českobratrská církev evangelická), and as many as 200 people attending the service were the target of the attack. Police used tactical stun grenades, truncheons, specially trained police forces (riot police), armored mounted police, and a helicopter during the operation.

Šťastný says the police intervention against a religious assembly was a serious violation of the fundamental constitutional rights of those attending the service. The organizers of the assembly are considering filing an administrative action against the Police of the Czech Republic.

The organizers of the religious service insisted to police that those attending it must be protected, but the police behavior did not reflect their demands. On the contrary, police used force against the worshipers in order to make it possible for the DSSS march to enter the streets of a housing estate predominantly inhabited by members of the Roma community.

During the police intervention, several participants in the peaceful religious assembly were injured, including Šťastný, who sustained light injuries. During the course of the religious gathering, members of the police repeatedly attempted to interrupt the ecumenical service, which included readings from the Bible, sermons, and the singing of Christian songs.

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