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The right to party ends in violence
August 3, 2005 2:09 PM   Subscribe

In the Czech Republic over the weekend a free and legal techno party was stormed by heavily-armed riot police. One person died and dozens of participants were injured. The unprecedented attack has been heavily condemned by the League of Human Rights and the Czech Shadow Minister claiming it was politically motivated. See also 1 and 2. Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek (Social Democrats, CSSD) defended the action stating: The core of the techno enthusiasts is made up of "obsessed people with anarchist proclivities and international links," who "provoke massive violent demonstrations, fuelled by alcohol and drugs, against the peaceful society".

Videos: 1 2 3 4 and 5

Photos: 1.
posted by urbanwhaleshark (30 comments total)

 
This post has everything, cops trying to be all LA like its the early 90s and white people in dreads.

The littering is pretty repulsive too. The cops look really well organized. I can't believe they haven't realized that beating the shit out of some in front of the camera isn't a good idea.

This whole seems way, way too political for me to comment on it. For those of you who didn't know like I did, the shadow minister is the leader of the opposition party. It looks like this thing is really, really divided upon party lines.
posted by geoff. at 2:25 PM on August 3, 2005


How sad. Why the massive police presence and tear gas? Where the partygoers posing a direct threat to public safety? Worst I've ever seen is repossession of the PA equipment, and perhaps a stern request to go home (this is in Holland, by the way).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:27 PM on August 3, 2005


Anybody have an English language link to a news story that isn't written from the perspective of either the cops or the kids? Seems the links are to one or the other and they are so disparate that they sound like they're talking about different events.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:28 PM on August 3, 2005


Also: Prague Daily Monitor, BBC
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:29 PM on August 3, 2005


I saw the video, without commentary, on Euronews. That sort of thing makes me sick.
posted by clevershark at 2:53 PM on August 3, 2005


You guys get Euronews as well over there? I think the show is actually called "No Commentary". Great show for us spin-weary media junkies.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:58 PM on August 3, 2005


Yep. Bunch of kids dancing to electronic music. Real threat to public safety there. Somebody's hip could get thrown out, or someone could slip on the sweat. Hell, someone might even feel offended by all the gyrating lithe young bodies. Yep. Real threat there. Glad they put that shit down.
posted by geekhorde at 2:59 PM on August 3, 2005


That "photos" link is really quite affecting -- the first few pages are just your average here-I-am-taking-pictures-of-the-cute-girls-at-the-concert, then you skip ahead a bit and suddenly it looks like Kent State.
posted by ook at 2:59 PM on August 3, 2005


Yay! Go Czech Republic! (In case my last post wasn't sarcastic enough)
posted by geekhorde at 3:00 PM on August 3, 2005


Plur!

Jesus H Christ with a glowstick...wtf?

(this story looks...awful...but there are some amazing photos on that photo page)
posted by tpl1212 at 3:04 PM on August 3, 2005


If I didn't know better, I'd have guessed this happened somewhere in the United States, especially given the spooky language the authorities used to describe the partygoers.
posted by wakko at 3:29 PM on August 3, 2005


I cobbled together the majority of this information from the squatjuice.co.uk forum after an heads-up from uk-dance.org. Apart from that BBC story goodnewsfortheinsane linked to there's has been nothing about this incident reported in the UK press as far as i know. Certainly neither the Times, Independant nor Guardian have picked up on it.

I wasn't part of the huge acid house or rave movement that foreshadowed the crackdown (see the Criminal Justice Act) on the huge parties that were staged in and around the english countryside; many of my friends were. But I have been to many squat parties in recent years that precipitated no or little police interference. One part of me thinks, similar to the comment that geoff. made, that the kind of negative reaction they would get in the press for kicking in a few heads isn't worth the hassle of busting some people for dancing in a field and taking a few recreational drugs (tho naturally, in those circumstances, the drugs are confiscated and maybe there are a couple of arrests.) Especially when their actions in the Battle of the Beanfield is only a short memory away.

But, from what I've read in this instance, and i would certainly side with eye witness accounts to those of police spokesmen, the actions of the police in this situation were inexcusable.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 3:52 PM on August 3, 2005


By the way, geoff., the police were present at the last Czechtek too (the event has been going for 15 years apparently). here are some photos i didnt include in the original posting. The cop pics are available at the bottom of the page.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:10 PM on August 3, 2005


From what I've read, the Czech government viewed the ravers as some kind of catalyst for violence, and stepped in to stop them getting out of hand. The obvious chain of events ensued.

That "Plur!" link above really says it all, though - a frickin' mass of armed/armoured police against happy/tripping/drunnk ravers - not very nice or fair.

According to the BBC link, there were "80 injured, including 50 police officers." - now that is one awesmely bad ratio of injured "offenders" to enforcers... obviously all the ravers have magical glow sticks of anti-authoritarianism+5, whilst the police have cursed riot shield of anti-raving+1. Go ravers! Go ravers! Woo!
posted by Chunder at 4:10 PM on August 3, 2005


From what I've read, the Czech government viewed the ravers as some kind of catalyst for violence, and stepped in to stop them getting out of hand. The obvious chain of events ensued.

That "Plur!" link above really says it all, though - a frickin' mass of armed/armoured police against happy/tripping/drunnk ravers - not very nice or fair.

According to the BBC link, there were "80 injured, including 50 police officers." - now that is one awesomely bad ratio of injured "offenders" to enforcers... obviously all the ravers have magical glow sticks of anti-authoritarianism+5, whilst the police have cursed riot shield of anti-raving+1. Go ravers! Go ravers! Woo!
posted by Chunder at 4:11 PM on August 3, 2005


Ack! I'd like to take this opportunity to both apologise for the double post (I spotted a typo in the first one, and thought I'd hit "stop" quickly enough... obviously not!) and to point out the ultra MadMax-ian photograph that resides at the start of the BBC article. That is one frickin' awesome dude, dude!
posted by Chunder at 4:14 PM on August 3, 2005


Go ravers! Go ravers! Woo!

Or, chunder, in the words of some likely lad or lass on a czech forum, "fuck the police".

It's weird. I've read that the Czech police have some very good relations with the populace. To put things releventally, last years Czechtek ended when the police put a hold on things after five days, and only because of a complaint theyd received about the noise/disruption. That's when they dispursed the teargas that you see in the photos from my last link.

This year, they (according to the non-police reports) deliberately lied that the legal contract with the landowner was illegal (tho this goes against the claims in canada,com and the bbc report), pressured a woman from a neighbouring village to make false claims against the festival and its participants to give them a reason for going in, turned people away from a czech/german border point because they had "coloured old cars, haircuts and tatoos" (see original indymedia post) which is, afaik, illegal; discriminating people on the basis of look or appearance. Whether they put up roadblocks to actively send festival-goers onto private property is pure speculation which is why i did'nt editorialise the fact in my post.

So what happened from last year, when things appear relatively peaceful, to the full on assault by police on unarmed humans this year?
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 4:34 PM on August 3, 2005


Argh. There goes my killer FPP.

DIY freetekno++

Riot cops--
posted by loquacious at 4:36 PM on August 3, 2005


The last page is some of the most punk rock stuff I've ever seen. Check out the woman showing to the cops, and then the world, what they've done to her. Unbelievable.
posted by felix at 4:46 PM on August 3, 2005


These days it's hard not to feel that governments (and their agents) and people aren two very distinct groups that are not only separate but in fact opposed.

Maybe in the end one is better off trusting no one, and especially not those who bear badges.
posted by clevershark at 5:22 PM on August 3, 2005


Fuck yeah. Next thing you know the cops'll be skinning and wearing the hides from bears and we won't know who to trust. Are they bears (we love bears), or are they police (we love bears).
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:01 PM on August 3, 2005


These are some astoundingly good photos.

And, I feel guilty saying it, but European chicks are teh hawtness.

obviously all the ravers have magical glow sticks of anti-authoritarianism+5, whilst the police have cursed riot shield of anti-raving+1

Heh. Seriously, though, was this really fucking necessary?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:27 PM on August 3, 2005


Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't happen, they're anarchists, when it does happen, they're good kids just trying to blow off some steam. And this isn't moral relativism. It's the good versus evil battle of leadership. blah blah if the hoodlums would just quit going to drug parties, we would have a better consensus.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:24 PM on August 3, 2005


Questions about video number one:

(1) What was the crowd chanting? Just curious.

(2) What was the deal with that one cop who was just walking around smashing bottles on the ground? Was that for some legitimate purpose?

It's serendipitous that, just before I read this post, I was walking around my neighborhood talking on my cell phone, when suddenly four cop cars -- all with lights flashing -- zipped past me, on a residential street, at about fifty MPH. When I followed them to rubberneck, I found out that they had all gone to: A traffic stop. To pull over one dude in a car. Maybe this was a particularly dangerous dude, but all told there were five cars and a van there to arrest him, which seems excessive under any scenario involving those numbers. It's very possible that there was something really big going on that I couldn't comprehend, but I really think it's more likely that this was just a bunch of bored cops who watched one too many Lethal Weapon movies.

I'm generally not one to say "fuck tha police" at the drop of a hat, but it does seem that, wherever the locale, the guys who we give guns to and place in charge of keeping the peace really let their perceived power go to their heads.

Oh, and as far as the rave rade goes: Fuck tha police.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:52 PM on August 3, 2005


I meant "rave raid." Dur.
posted by hifiparasol at 9:55 PM on August 3, 2005


What was the deal with that one cop who was just walking around smashing bottles on the ground?

I figure the reasoning is "you can't throw a broken bottle," or something like that.

I can't believe this whole thing, what sane country even has that many police to spare for this sort of purpose? Shouldn't they be doing useful things like, uh, catching drunk drivers and locking up rapists?

Also, someone should really tell them about rule 1: if you're going to beat the shit out of someone who's done nothing, at least make sure they're black.
posted by The Monkey at 10:55 PM on August 3, 2005


hifiparasol writes "What was the crowd chanting? Just curious."

"The assault was answered by objects being thrown at the police cordon and people shouting "gestapo" at the police."
posted by Edame at 12:19 AM on August 4, 2005


From the BBC link:

President Vaclav Klaus, a former leader of the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats, said in a statement:

"Those who approved the intervention bear full responsibility for damaging trust in the police and creating another split in our country."


Right-wing Democrats opposed the raid? Foreign politics are so confusing.
posted by Hubajube at 6:42 AM on August 4, 2005


This makes me soooo fing mad!

Has anyone ever been to one parties?

The people who go to these parties, are the kind of people who detest vilonce, detest represion, see no boudaries in creed/culture, who want to see the world united as friends. What right do these wankers have to beat the crap out of them?

Actions like this are gonna make anarchists, not suppress them!

Watch out you fucking bastards, it'l come around!
posted by longhairedsi at 4:33 PM on August 4, 2005


that's the thing with the underground.. they're uncomtrollable, thus frightening
posted by borq at 8:00 AM on August 7, 2005


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