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Czech Interior Ministry: SPD movement has assumed the agenda of the extreme right

16.6.2018 10:31
Several hundred people protested the meeting of representatives of Europe's ultra-right in Prague on 16 December 2017. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)
Several hundred people protested the meeting of representatives of Europe's ultra-right in Prague on 16 December 2017. (PHOTO: Petr Zewlakk Vrabec)

In the Czech Republic, extremist groups on the right as traditionally organized have stopped being relevant politically. The "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement has worked with their agenda most effectively, but that group is categorized by the Czech Interior Ministry as not extremist, but as a movement that engages in xenophobic speech.

The Czech Interior Ministry's Department on Security Policy issued that assessment in its report on extremism for the first quarter of 2018. The ministry categorizes the National Democracy (ND) and Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS) as extremist, right-wing and traditional, but said their appearances have been quite passive and that their members essentially just follow events of interest to which they have a tendency to react.

"Despite his previous electoral failures, Tomáš Vandas has defended his position as chair of the DSSS. The vice-chair became Jiří Froněk, who previously was a significant member of the neo-Nazi National Resistance group (Národní odpor). The ND announced a new program, but has just published its preamble so far," the report states.

In the chapter entitled "Xenophobic speech by entities that are not extremist", the ministry names many xenophobic speech acts by the allegedly "not extremist" SPD. That speech concerned, for example, the buyout of the pig farm on the site of the former concentration camp for Romani people at Lety.

The ministry reminded readers that police have begun to investigate three MPs from the SPD movement in that connection and have charged the movement's former secretary, Jaroslav Staník, with allegedly making racist remarks in the restaurant on the grounds of the lower house. News server Aktuálně.cz recently quoted from the still-unpublished Annual Report by the Interior Ministry for 2017, which criticizes the SPD for choosing to focus on similar subjects as the extreme right and adopting similar opinions about them.

In some cases, the remarks by representatives of the SPD have been even more radical than remarks by the extreme right, according to the still-unpublished report, which has not yet been approved by the Government. The SPD believes the aim of leaking the report's content to the media was to damage the movement politically.

Extremist entities organized 49 events during the first quarter of 2018, according to the ministry, a year-on-year decline of 44 events. "Of that number, a total of 42 were connected with the extremist left and a total of seven were connected with extremists on the right," the quarterly report says.

The anarchist scene, according to the ministry's quarterly report, focused on events in solidarity with colleagues who have been imprisoned or prosecuted, especially colleagues from Russia and Spain. They also expressed support for the Kurdish cause.

Between January and March 2018 police recorded 49 extremist felonies, 17 more than during the same period last year. Almost half of them happened in Prague, which also had the highest number of persons prosecuted, most frequently for promoting and support movements aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms, according to the report.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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DSSS, Extremism, Interior Ministry, Národní demokracie, Racism, Svoboda a přímá demokracie (SPD)



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