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Human Rights Abuses by Czech Police
by Jon Acker 28th Sept 2000
Protesters get rough treatment in Prague
On September 26, 2000, about twelve thousand people gathered in Prague to protest the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, demanding that the two institutions be shut down. It was a success - their meeting was seriously disrupted and their blatantly exploitative policies were further brought to public attention.
On the morning of Sept. 26, people from all over the world attempted to approach the conference to bring their views directly to the delegates, but were blocked by an army of police.
Clashes ensued, and many were arrested. Throughout the following night police retaliation took place. Anyone 'suspected' of being a protester was chased down, often beaten, and arrested.
By morning 422 people had been arrested, often for nothing more than walking down the street. Police were assisted in their persecution by Czech fascists, who chased and attacked anyone who looked like a protester, and helped to beat demonstrators while they were held in jail.
Today, Thursday Sept. 28, massive arrests are continuing. A non-violent demonstration took place in front of the Ministry of Interior against the police brutality and in solidarity with those arrested.
Another 70 people were dragged away. Official police sources report 892 arrests so far, of which approximately 230 have been foreigners. A few have been released, and their reports are horrifying.
The activists are systematically beaten, denied access to phone, food, water, and bedding, and in at least at one police station fascists have been allowed into the cells to brutalize those being held.
Foreigners who have been released have either been transported directly to the border or given 24 hours to leave the country, preventing the recording of their evidence.
Those arrested have been completely cut off from the outside world. They have been denied phone calls and any access to legal councils. In the vast majority of cases people are being held without any charge having been made.
The police have refused to release any information about confirming names of those arrested and where they are being held. Several activists have simply disappeared.
And so we need your help. The situation here is critical. The arrested need international solidarity. We beg you to send faxes and E-mails protesting the treatment of those arrested.
Keep in mind that the vast majority of those arrested were incarcerated only because of their political convictions and their appearance. The police must stop their brutality and release them immediately.
If possible, organize a protest in front of the Embassies of the Czech Republic, the sooner the better. If there's no Embassy in your town, there may be a Czech cultural center.
We thank you very much on behalf of the arrested activists.
Czech President Vaclev Havel fax number: (+420) 2 2431 0851
Czech Minister of Interior Jan Ruml: (+420) 2 6143 3560 fax: (+420) s2378216
Czech Embassy in UK: (+44) 207 243 1115
British Embassy in Czech Republic: (+420) 257 530278 fax: (+420) 257 530296
US Embassy in Czech Republic: fax (+420) 2 2451 1001
CONFIRMED REPORTS OF POLICE BRUTALITY September 28. 2000-09-28 13.00
Under Czech law, prisoners are entitled to
To arrange interviews with those recently released, call Cyan immediately at 0605 879 504. Press center: 00 420 2 627 2349, inpeg.ecn.cz, INPEG@onebox.com
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