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Czech annual report on extremism for 2016: Neo-Nazis leaving the DSSS for National Democracy

20.5.2017 11:40
The
The "Movement for Our Culture and a Safe Country" and the extremist National Democracy movement convened a protest march on 6 February 2016 in Prague against what they called the "anti-national policy of the Government", "illegal immigration", and "restrictions on democratic freedoms". The men in yellow vests are organizers of the protest. (PHOTO: Jana Platichová, Romea.cz)

Extremists held 308 events in the Czech Republic last year, one more than in 2015. Left-wing extremists organzied 133 events, right-wing extremists 129, and anti-immigrant or anti-Islam movements 49 events.

The number of extremist crimes fell year-on-year by 32 to a total of 143. Those are the findings of the annual report on extremism for 2016, which will be reviewed by the Czech Government next week.

According to the Czech Interior Minisry's annual document, disunity among these entities continued last year, caused by personal disputes among their main representatives. Strong rivalry persisted between the Workers Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and National Democracy (Národní demokracie - ND).

The Interior Ministry says sympathizers have been leaving both of those political parties, which was reflected in their negligible results in the regional elections. "A minor subject at the beginning of the year continued to be migration, from which the extreme right entities them moved on to a more emphatic criticism of and protests against the Czech Republic's membership in the European Union, NATO, and against the domestic political representation in its entirety," the report says.

ND was the more active extremist party last year. The DSSS was characterized by insignificant, moderately-worded public appearances, even though it has a bigger membership base.

The annual report also pointed out that persons infamous for their activity in the neo-Nazi movement joined the ND last year. The DSSS, according to the Interior Ministry, lost broader support among neo-Nazis.

Crises last year, according to the report, were experienced by both anti-immigrant and anti-Islam entities, which were incapable of collaborating and split up. "The decline of public interest in the subject of migration, and the internal disagreements inside these movements, has de facto led to their absolute dissolution," the annual report emphasizes.

Those groups, according to the report, got space in alternative media outlets doing their best to disseminate or support an atmosphere of fear. "They exploited, among other things, selectively-chosen, tendentious reporting about Muslims, refugees, and alleged connections to terrorism," the report says.

On the extreme left, according to the experts, the anarchist scene stagnated last year, as did its militant part. "Authoritarian groups continued to be further fragmented and did not find a more significant collective or figure to unite them. Their membership base remains weak," the document said.

The activities of the extreme left have reportedly been suppressed in connection with the fact that interest in the subject of migration has fallen. Last year, compared to 2015, the burnings of police cars stopped, with just one such case recorded.

The main risk and threat to the Czech Republic, according to the report, is the appearance of militant, radicalized individuals or small groups, efforts by extremists that lead to weakening society, and the opportunity for growth in the polarization of society and tensions. Experts also consider it a danger that extremist elements might begin to take on mainstream politics, or that an extremist political entity might arise with a charasmatic leader at the head.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Politics, zpráva, aktuální dění, annual report on extremism



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