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October 20, 2018
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Czech Govt has yet to release report stating that the SPD party poses more of a threat than extremists do

4.6.2018 11:59
Criminal charges are being filed against Czech MP Tomio Okamura in 2018 accusing him of Holocaust denial after he told the media that people had been free to come and go from the concentration camp at Lety u Písku. The Romani children imprisoned there died primarily of cold and hunger. (PHOTO:  Wikimedia Commons, Akademie věd ČR, Collage: Romea.cz)
Criminal charges are being filed against Czech MP Tomio Okamura in 2018 accusing him of Holocaust denial after he told the media that people had been free to come and go from the concentration camp at Lety u Písku. The Romani children imprisoned there died primarily of cold and hunger. (PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons, Akademie věd ČR, Collage: Romea.cz)

The next annual report from the Czech Interior Ministry about extremism is anticipated to criticize the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement, which is seated in Parliament. The movement chooses to emphasize subjects similar to those focused on by right-wing extremists and holds opinions similar to theirs as well.

Some SPD representatives have made quite radical statements. Aktuálně.cz published quotes on 30 May from the draft report.

The annual report customarily comes out during the second half of May. According to the SPD, the content from the draft version published in the media aims to harm the party politically.

In the case of the SPD movement, past extremism reports have warned primarily against its anti-refugee rhetoric. This year, according to Aktuálně.cz, a page and a half of the report is dedicated to the movement.

Aktuálně.cz also reports that the document warns, without mentioning a specific party, that the main threat of extremism is no longer posed by the traditional extremist parties but by the populist, xenophobic ones. Moreover, the authors of the report warn that extremists and populists want to influence strategic decisions in the area of security, i.e., the Czech Republic's membership in the European Union or NATO, for example.

Experts on extremism have completed the annual report, which now awaits the signature of acting Interior Minister Lubomír Metnar. After that the document can enter the comments procedure during which different authorities will express their opinions of it before the Government adopts it for publication.

"The report must be refined. It probably will not be on the agenda of the next Government session or the one after that," Metnar told news server Aktuálně.cz.

The acting Interior Minister has admitted that there is "some mention" of the SPD in the document. The SPD itself believes it is "absolutely scandalous" that the content of the report is being consulted with the media prior to its approval.

An SPD press release sent to the Czech News Agency noted that some media outlets and ministries are pointing to what they are calling "apparent totalitarian tendencies" in the movement. "It is the collaboration between state bodies and some media outlets during this political battle that is a typical work method of communist and fascist regimes," the SPD statement reads.

The chair of the SPD, Czech MP Tomio Okamura, caused outrage in January with his remarks about the Protectorate-era concentration camp for Romani people at Lety u Písku. He erroneously stated that the camp had not been fenced and that the inmates had been free to come and go from it.

Okamura subsequently apologized for those remarks but simultaneously erroneously alleged that the camp had not been guarded for most of its existence and that the prisoners had been able to move about freely inside it. His party colleague, Czech MP Miroslav Rozner (SPD), then called the camp at Lety a "non- existent, pseudo-concentration camp."

In February police charged the SPD party's former secretary, Jaroslav Staník, with making hateful remarks about Jewish people, LGBT people and Romani people at the end of October 2017 on the premises of the lower house. The hateful ideology of Okamura and the other SPD members has been condemned by the representatives of national minorities in the Czech Republic.

Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán (ANO) has objected to the SPD, calling it a fascist party this February in an interview for the daily Hospodářské noviny. Okamura's remarks about the camp at Lety are also unacceptable to Czech Foreign Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO).

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Extremism, Interior Ministry, Hate, Tomio Okamura



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