The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies herewith condemns the police razzia against the Czech tek event (a free techno party) held in the Tachov region, Czech Republic on 30 July and calls upon all European citizens to raise their voice against the criminalisation of dance events in general.
The Czech Tek has been organised for 12 consecutive years. This year, it was the first time ever that any serious problems with the police appeared.
Operating without any legal justification, restricting the freedom of movement of persons who were peacefully in transit on the public roads, and intervening brutally against people who were enjoying a dance party, the Czech police illegally and brutally infringed upon the private contract between the owner of the property and the organizers of the dance party. Thus, the police artificially escalated the situation, ordering all participants at the event to disappear. This resulted in conflict which could otherwise have been avoided. In this conflict the police used completely inappropriate methods, given the situation, and injured several dozens of people.
The police razzia was justified by Czech Prime Minister Paroubek in his article ‘Techno fans are not dancing children, but dangerous people” saying among others’: “This core (of free-parties organizers) is built with people with dangerous anarchist thrives and they are internationally connected. They provoke massive demonstrations against the peaceful society, started with alcohol and drugs. The logic of these violent persons is similar to the system of organizing their parties.”
According to a declaration made by the Czech National Drug Centre at the aftermath of CzechTek 2004, the participants were bringing drugs only in small quantities for their personal use to the party the only drug found in a bigger quantity, which could be destined for sale, was hashish.
According to field workers of Drop In Foundation, who regularly monitor summer festivals and other events held in the Czech Republic, the drug situation in CzechTek 2005 was similar to common summer festivals held in July and August around the country. Before the police action they didn’t notice any manifestations of aggressiveness or drugs residues lying on the ground except cups or empty alcohol bottles. They did not find any thrown needles or syringes, neither they received any such information from the festivalgoers.
Regarding the demographic and social characteristics of electronic music concerts visitors, studies show that 53% of participants are high school or university students, 42% are employed and 3,4% were unemployed (national unemployment rate is above 8%) so these figures clearly demonstrate that techno festivalgoers are rather the future elite of the Czech society.
Techno events around Europe have encountered similar problems in the past months. Apparently, dancing is becoming a crime. According to ENCOD, the war against dance parties represents yet another absurd consequence of the current prohibition of drugs. It is a fact that people choose their own substances to acompany their parties. Due to the fact that some of them are illegal, the authorities will always have an argument to apply repression in stead of harm reduction. They can use the drug issue to stigmatise and criminalise people who are anyway considered as ‘enemies of society’, due to their different lifestyle.
Therefore it is time for a different drug policy. ENCOD calls upon all dance-lovers in Europe to support European action to claim the right to dance.
See for more information on Czech Tek