Czech court bans far-right Workers Party

19.02.10 @ 09:26

  1. By Leigh Phillips

The Czech Republic's top court has banned a far-right political group, the first time a party has been banned in the country since its separation from Slovakia in 1993.

  • Roma are frequently a target of the group (Photo: Planet Love)

On Wednesday (17 February), the Supreme Administrative Court (NSS) outlawed the Workers' Party, finding that it deployed racist, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic language and was a threat to Czech democracy.

The court agreed with the government, which originally filed the petition, noting its strong links to neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

The party, which rejects the accusation that it is a neo-Nazi group itself, has said it will appeal.

It is the second attempt by the government to have the party banned. Its first petition to the court in 2008 was dismissed.

Leader Tomas Vandas declared after the court's decision that even if an appeal is unsuccessful, the party will simply dissolve itself and reform under another name, such as the Affiliated Workers' Social Justice Party, he said.

The party is known for its boisterous anti-gypsy rallies that take place near Roma communities and which frequently end in violence.

In November, 2008, a force of some 1,000 riot police battled a 500-strong protest march by the party and its supporters in the town of Litvinov when the group attempted to descend upon a Roma suburb.

The party's youthful backers hurled petrol bombs and rocks at the police, injuring seven policemen. Seven demonstrators were also injured.

The group however, does not enjoy great electoral success, with only three local councillors and no nationally elected MPs.

In the European Parliament elections of June last year, the Workers' Party scored just 1 percent.

However, analysts believe the court's ruling sets a precedent for going after the country's Communist Party, which does enjoy popular support. In the elections to Strasbourg in 2009, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia, which sits with the European United Left (GUE) in the chamber, won 14 percent, the third largest share of votes in the poll.