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May 23, 2022

 

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Czech far-right MP gives distasteful xenophobic speech in lower house, attacks Romani refugees with the Nazi term "inadaptables" - ministers left to shut down the session

11.5.2022 14:04
Czech MP Tomio Okamura in the Chamber of Deputies, 10 May 2022 (PHOTO: www.psp.cz)
Czech MP Tomio Okamura in the Chamber of Deputies, 10 May 2022 (PHOTO: www.psp.cz)

Czech Government ministers were outraged by the performance of "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) chair Tomia Okamura in the Chamber of Deputies yesterday with regard to the Government's strategic priorities for managing the refugee wave caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The MP engaged in an attack on refugees that was distasteful and racist. 

The cabinet members later told the media that Okamura was spreading hate and lies. They left the Chamber after about an hour and brought the session to an end by doing so, as parliamentary rules require at least one Government member present to convene. 

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN) also said he would be ready to attend this morning's session of the lower house to resume the agenda. Okamura was the only speaker to comment on the Government strategy yesterday. 

Among other matters, the MP said he was surprised the Government wanted to cancel compulsory medical examinations of refugee Ukrainian pupils before they enrol in school. He also said that after the arrival of children from Ukraine, the quality of teaching "for Czech citizens" will decrease and there will be not enough places for younger Czech children in nursery schools.

THE WORD "INADAPTABLE"

The Nazis referred to groups of inhabitants whom they claimed were failing to comply and conform to their requirements - and whom they therefore sent to the extermination camps - as "inadaptables" ("Unanpassungsfähig").

Okamura repeatedly attacked Romani refugees from Ukraine, calling them "inadaptable", a Nazi term. He accused the Government of amateurism and dilettantism.

"The citizens could start to rebel soon," the MP predicted. He also questioned whether the amount of the Czech humanitarian contribution to the Ukrainians should be so high. 

The MP also alleged that Ukraine is importing used cars en masse and that their price in the Czech Republic is therefore rising. At the same time, he recommended to those Ukrainians whom he described as arriving in the Czech Republic in more expensive cars that they sell them to pay for their stay in the Czech Republic.

By banging on their benches, the coalition MPs showed their dislike of Okamura's words towards Labor and Social Affairs Minister Marian Jureček (Christian Democratic Party - KDU-ČSL), whom he called "thickheaded". Some of the Government-aligned lawmakers left the chamber at that point, after which ministers began leaving.

"We have all witnessed the fact that he's not just obstructing the plenary session, but also abusing people and inciting hate," Rakušan then commented to journalists. According to him, the ministers wanted to talk about coping with the influx of refugees, but they never got the floor and had to listen to insults. 

"The speeches of xenophobia and hatred towards people who are fleeing here from the war were so egregious that we had to make an adequate response," the Interior Minister added. Labor Minister Jurečka commented that "It's impossible to sit for an hour and listen to a person who insults others."

The Labor Minister described Okamura's performance as a bunch of distortions, hatred, lies and scaremongering. The Interior Minister also reported that the chairs of the parliamentary clubs had been discussing whether the Chamber of Deputies would return to the agenda item first thing in the morning Wednesday (today) and said he would be ready to take the floor with the Government's priorities to introduce them to the public. 

Zdeněk Ryšavý, ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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antigypsyism, Discrimination, poslanec, Poslanecká sněmovna



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