Text size

A large group of Czech anti-fascist activists prevented hundreds of neo-Nazis from marching in Prague yesterday on the anniversary of Kristallnacht. Three people were injured in clashes between the two camps.

The 2,000 members of the group, which also included young Jews and anarchists, positioned themselves at the outskirts of the capital's historic Jewish quarter, where they warded off some 400 Czech and German neo-Nazis.

The members of the Young Nationalist Democrats (MND) received backup from two busloads of German supporters.

The clashes broke out after one of the young fascists used pepper spray against one of the anarchists. The anarchists then attacked the neo-Nazis, injuring one of them. Two other activists were injured in other incidents.

Police arrested over 40 neo-Nazis. Law enforcement sources said some of them carried weapons such as iron rods and even explosives. Police also sealed off a number of subway stations to prevent neo-Nazis from reaching the quarter.

The neighborhood also saw a mass prayer in memory of the victims of the Kristallnacht pogrom, which took place in 1938. Several of the speakers, among them 80-year-old novelist and Holocaust survivor Arnost Lustig, warned against the reemergence of Nazism in Europe.

Lustig said he was happy to see so many Czechs gathering in downtown Prague to protest the far-right extremists. "It is great because I remember when we went to the concentration camp, some people just crossed over to the other side of the road," he told DPA.