Articles

No more masked demonstrations

In Law, Politics on January 7, 2009 by Petr Bokuvka Tagged: , ,

There are several changes to several laws as of January 1. One of the amendments says that anyone who participates in or attends a demonstration in a public place must have their face UNcovered.

The police and authorities have been calling for this change for years. Football hooligans, anarchists or the extreme-right often “demonstrated” with scarves or other piece of clothing on their faces so that they could not be identified by their opponents. The demonstrations often included fights. The police have always said it is complicated to identify the person because they had to do it one by one by telling them “take it off”.

I think the reactions of the people concerned show who is a chicken shit and who is not. If you have to “protest” against McDonald’s or KFC by putting a scarf on your face and throwing rocks at windows, you are a chicken shit. People who protest against government policies, or politicians as such, in front of the seat of the Czech government do not wear anything on their faces and they gladly say on TV that the PM is a crook.

From now on if any extremist demonstration features an organized group of masked individuals, the police can say the event is not authorized, and therefore illegal. As a person who signs what they think, I have to be satisfied.

2 Responses to “No more masked demonstrations”

  1. Disagree. Requiring protesters to demonstrate unmasked makes them easier targets of reprisal, whether from police or from someone who recognizes them. The law presumes that there is no legitimate reason for concealing one’s identity, that anyone masking their face is bent on destruction, violence or other illegal activity.

    But what if you were protesting an issue that put you on the opposite side as your boss? What if you feared that your boss would fire you if she/he discovered the political views you practiced outside the workplace? Is it then such a bad thing to protest anonymously? If you think about it that way, it’s no different than saying elections should no longer be secret and that police and the public should be able to watch you vote.

    The law is bad and hopefully it proves unenforceable.

  2. Good points, BUT: whereas the law does say you can not be masked, the police might very likely leave you alone if you just stand around, wearing a mask of a politician. The law was written to punish those who associate “protesting” with violent activities.

    If anyone wants to participate in a legitimate and non-violent protest that puts them on the opposite side as their boss and if it has consequences, the person can sue the boss on the grounds of wrongful termination.

    I am sure the police will differentiate. It is like catching a driver speeding. You CAN give them a hefty fine, but you can also let them go with an oral warning.

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