Brno, May 26 (CTK) – Some 30 members of the Decent People movement have stormed a Brno theatre stage in protest against a controversial new production and disturbed the performance for about an hour before a police anti-conflict team made them leave.
In the controversial drama production, presented as part of the Theatre World Brno festival, the figure of Jesus rapes a Muslim woman. A wave of protests against the play intensified in recent days and culminated today.
The activists formed a human chain on the Husa na provazku theatre stage in front of the actors in an effort to oust them from the stage and thwart the performance.
The activists were singing, blowing whistles and making noise, but the actors continued playing, applauded by the spectators who chanted: “Decent people, go home!”
Attempts by the theatre staff to start a dialogue with the protesters have failed.
Further spectators have mounted the stage and started dancing in front of the activists. Chaos finally prevailed.
After the police team’s intervention, some protesters left while others returned to their seats in the auditorium and the performance could continue.
The performance Our Violence and Your Violence, which raised the controversy, focuses on the West’s relation to the Middle East countries. Apart from commemorating the victims of Islamist terrorism in Europe, it refers to the millions of people who died in wars and the subsequent chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. It also shows what is often stereotypical approach by well-off Europeans.
Judging by the monologues at the beginning of the performance, most of the actors are Muslims, from either the Balkans or West Europe.
The Decent People movement was established in reaction to the current coalition at the Brno City Hall comprised of ANO, Live Brno, Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), the Greens and TOP 09.
Its chairman Zdenek Pernica, who was among the activists onstage today, is a three-times Czech kick box champion and runs a security agency.
The Interior Ministry has labelled Decent People extremists.
Police spokeswoman Pavel Svab told CTK that they know the disturbers’ identity, will report it to the relevant authority and they will also study video recordings to see whether further unlawful acts occurred.
As the actors resumed the play, another group of activists among the spectators, Christians, began whistling and loudly protesting during the rape scene. The security service escorted about 15 of them out of the room.
“It was horrible but we have to learn to fight for our faith and our God, because if someone offends him this way…this amounts to blatant blasphemy,” Christian protester Iva Syptakova said.
After the performance, the police advised the departing spectators to avoid the nearby square with protesters.
In the past weeks, the production, made by Croat director Oliver Frljic, was condemned by the Catholic Church and some politicians beforehand.
The criticism was mainly provoked by a photo from the performance with the figure of Jesus raping a Muslim woman.
Frljic ranks among respected European theatre directors but his productions often provoke stormy public debates or scandals.
Earlier this evening, about 200 protesters met in front of the theatre, trying to prevent spectators’ entry into the theatre building. The police anti-conflict team succeeded in taking them away from the entrance.
Another demonstration took place in Brno in the afternoon.