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News > Press Releases 2016 > Czech police erred during Chinese President's visit

Czech police erred during Chinese President's visit

10. 10. 2016

(with CTK) – According to Ombudsman Anna Sabatova, the Czech police acted chaotically and disproportionately during some incidents in the streets of Prague accompanying the March visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The police detained some people groundlessly.

Police officers made a serious mistake when they did not interfere against some supporters of the Chinese president who were beating a man carrying a Tibetan flag with their flagpoles, and instead, they interfered against the victim of the attack and detained him.

The Ombudsman calls on the police to make video-recordings of similar events to be able to assess the situation retroactively and identify some protagonists.

Upon the Chinese president's arrival, two activists tied themselves up to city light poles, changing Chinese flags for Tibetan ones in Evropska street, the main route from the airport. Other people were watching them and some of them also tied themselves to the poles. The police called on the people to leave the area and those who disobeyed were detained and brought to a police station. According to the Ombudsman the police acted at variance with law in this case.

She also says the police intervention at the Film Academy (FAMU) in Prague was completely chaotic.

FAMU joined the public hoisting of the Tibetan flag as a symbol of support for the victims of human rights abuses in Communist China. Two men, who introduced themselves as police detectives, came to the FAMU building and asked questions about the flag.

The police's demand that a Tibetan flag be removed from a window of an administrative building opposing the Hilton Hotel raises a suspicion of a selective removal of symbols that might irritate the Chinese president. However, the Ombudsman did not gain information about a possible systemic removal of other obstacles preventing the view of police snipers, and this is why the violation of the right to freedom of expression cannot be proved in the above mentioned case of one Tibetan flag.

The Prague regional police director accepted the ombudsman's arguments to a high extent and took adequate measures to redress the situation, but he disagreed with her assessment of the police intervention in Evropska street.

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