Police Cleared of Wrongdoing in National Museum Intervention After March Demonstration

Repro Policie ČR

Police officers at the National Museum did not commit a criminal offense during the intervention following a March demonstration, according to the General Inspection of Security Forces (GIBS). The Deputy Police President informed lawmakers about this finding. The GIBS examined the incident and found no violation of the law by the Czech Police. As a result, the case was handed over to the Prague Regional Police Directorate.

However, Jiří Mašek, a committee member, was unsatisfied with the GIBS investigation and unsuccessfully demanded further scrutiny. On the other hand, the committee expressed gratitude to the security forces for protecting the National Museum and maintaining public order.

Mašek’s interest in the case was seen in connection with his previous accusations against the police in March, without evidence, suggesting that the police provoked the intervention and that the officers injured the person they were apprehending. Mašek pointed to a disciplinary proceeding against three plainclothes police officers who had intervened against a fifteen-year-old boy at a rally led by Andrej Babiš, the leader of the ANO party in Borovany last August. He demanded a fair investigation by the GIBS.

Regarding the incident at the museum, Tomáš Lerch, the Deputy Police President, stated that the video presented by Mašek was not manipulated or edited but lacked context, unlike the official police recordings. Lerch mentioned that the man involved in the incident was attacking the police officers, as evident from the slowed-down footage. The police used the mildest coercive means against him, and the person was not injured, contrary to Mašek’s claims. The police intervention was not completed, and the commanding officer called the officers back, prioritizing the protection of the National Museum.

During a demonstration on March 11, several hundred participants attempted to enter the National Museum building and remove a Ukrainian flag displayed in solidarity with Ukraine facing Russian aggression. The protesters did not comply with police orders to disperse, resulting in the arrest of 20 individuals. The police received 16 complaints regarding the intervention.

A district court issued a conditional four-month prison sentence with a two-year probation period to a man who incited the crowd to break into the museum before and after the March demonstration. Both the defendant and the prosecutor objected to the sentence so that the case would be heard during the main trial in June.