- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Prague Rally Criticizing Israel’s Gaza Response Prompts Security Measures
A demonstration denouncing Israel’s retaliatory actions in the Gaza Strip, following attacks by Hamas militants, is scheduled to take place today at 16:00 on Prague’s iconic Wenceslas Square. In preparation for the event, dozens of police officers, including members of the anti-conflict team, will be deployed to maintain security, according to Jan Daněk, the spokesperson for Prague Police. The Prague City Hall, led by its spokesperson Vít Hofman, has identified the event as potentially risky and has expressed its intent to have officials on-site who may intervene if necessary. The demonstration is being organized by the civic initiative “Not in Our Name! – Initiative for a Just Peace in the Middle East.”
Jan Daněk emphasized that various police units, including uniformed officers, the criminal service, and the anti-conflict team, will be present, following standard protocol for such gatherings, as stated in a report to the Czech News Agency.
In light of recent events, Czech police officers across the country have been actively patrolling Jewish monuments and other locations in response to the Hamas attack on Israel, as previously reported by the X network. While specific information about current threats remains undisclosed, Czech police are cooperating with other security forces and closely monitoring social media platforms for potential hate speech and related issues.
Vít Hofman from the City Hall explained that there are limited circumstances in which authorities can prohibit a planned gathering. These include cases where the event coincides with another gathering or when the stated purpose promotes violence or racial segregation. However, these conditions do not apply to today’s demonstration.
Regarding the Sunday rally, Hofman acknowledged the potential risk associated with participants making speeches that may violate the law due to the event’s focus. Consequently, close cooperation with the Czech Police has been established to jointly oversee the rally. The spokesperson also mentioned the possibility of a spontaneous counter-rally in support of Israel’s actions taking place at the same location.
The organizers have clarified that the event’s objective is to commemorate the memory of all victims in Israel and Palestine, irrespective of their background. They oppose the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza as a solution to the ongoing cycle of violence, advocating instead for a mutual ceasefire, the immediate release of prisoners, and a pathway to a just settlement between the two peoples. Their press release specifically calls for an immediate halt to the bombing of Gaza and urges the Czech government not to support Israel’s retaliatory actions, which they believe will result in further loss of life and damage to the region.
The situation in the Gaza Strip has seen Israel responding with extensive airstrikes and shelling following attacks by Hamas militants, leading to a substantial loss of life. According to Reuters, the Israeli casualties have exhibited signs of extreme violence, including torture and rape. In contrast, Palestinian health ministry reports indicate over 2,300 casualties as a result of the Israeli attacks on Gaza. The demonstration in Prague reflects the ongoing international concern and debates surrounding the situation in the Middle East.
Article by Prague Forum