( dpa )- Some 200 Czech right-wing extremists gathered Saturday on a Prague square seen as the city's equivalent of London's Speakers' Corner to protest a ban on their march in the western Bohemian city of Plzen .
"The ban is a mockery of democracy and laws of this country. The mayor can afford to do it because he is protected," 28-year-old ultra-nationalist Jiri Bunda said.
While police had expected hundreds of Czech and foreign extremists to arrive in Plzen on Saturday despite the ban, only around 30 right- wing and 40 left-wing radicals were on the city streets, the local police said.
Three foreign neo-Nazis were detained in Plzen for making a Nazi salute, which is illegal in the Czech Republic. The police declined to reveal their nationality but confirmed they were not German.
Meanwhile, police estimated that some 500 people, including politicians and Jewish community leaders, convened in front of the city's Great Synagogue to honour the victims of the Holocaust and protest what they view as neo-Nazi provocations.
The banned march was scheduled to pass by the synagogue on Saturday, a day after the 66th anniversary of the first Jewish transport from Plzen to Nazi concentration camps, which the right- wing extremists claimed to have been a coincidence.
According to Czech counter-intelligence, the country's estimated 3,000 to 5,000 right-wing radicals remain an insignificant, fringe group without strong centralized leadership and political backing.
However, they have recently begun trying to gain visibility and promote their political ideas by organizing marches and protests in Czech towns.
"They wanted to get favour with the street following the German example of NPD as someone who can establish order," said political scientist Miroslav Mares, referring to Germany's far-right National Democratic Party.
Such activities though have been met with outrage not only from Jewish groups and human-rights activists but also from politicians of all stripes and the public.
When some 400 Czech, German and Slovak neo-Nazis unsuccessfully tried to gather in Prague for a banned march through city's historical Jewish district on November 10 - the anniversary of the so-called Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) pogrom - at least 1,000 people convened in chilly drizzle in protest.
Meanwhile, cities have struggled to ban neo-Nazi marches in advance, stretching to the limits the country's liberal law that safeguards freedom of assembly.
According to lawyers, Plzen mayor Pavel Roedl actually broke the law by banning the march in his city less than three days before its planned date. The march convener - who is, according to the police, a right-wing radical - said that he will strike back in the courts, CTK news agency reported.
The city of Prague had waged a highly-publicized court battle with the far-right extremists behind the banned Kristallnacht march. In the end, the Supreme Administrative Court upheld the city ban.
The legal tug-of-war between the cities and the radicals has sparked a debate about toughening the assembly law.
"It would really worry me if we would encroach on one of the greatest achievements of November 1989, that is the freedom of assembly, because of a group of Nazis or anarchists," Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer recently said.