Czech national holiday to see protests against President's remarks about Roma and other minorities
On Saturday, 17 November 2018 at 13:00 on Hradčanské náměstí in front of Prague Castle and at the statue of the first Czecholslovak President, T. G. Masaryk, a protest meeting called "Jdeme do toho! [Let's Do It!] Me Džav a So Tumen Avena?" Those attending will be expressing disagreement with Czech President Zeman's recent appearances and manipulative remarks about Romani people.
The event was initiated by Miroslav Rusenko of the Romani Democratic Party (RDS). ROMEA TV will broadcast the demonstration live.
"Romani people and others of good will are going to assemble for this event to express the fact that they have had enough. We want to clearly demonstrate that it is not possible to tolerate this defamation, humiliation of human dignity, racist insults, lies and the dissemination of xenophobic hatred. The President of our country is spreading hatred wherever he goes and he is dividing the citizens," Rusenko told news server Romea.cz.
"We're all going into this, so don't be afraid to speak up, let's stop him before it's too late. It's necessary to get him out, to demand a public apology for his remarks about Czech Roma, people who are a part of this country and society! His anti-Romani, populist, deceptive remarks incite the broader public to take hateful, xenophobic positions," Rusenko's official declaration says as to what led him to organize the protest action.
That demonstration will be followed another event at the same location. The second protest is called "Against lies and hatred" and is a joint production of the Pulse of Europe initiative and the Against Hate Speech initiative (Proti projevům nenávisti).
Organizers describe the reasons they are holding that event as part of the Festival of Freedom 2018 in their official statement as follows:
"Miloš Zeman, despite his oath of office, is again encouraging hatred and offending hundreds of thousands of inhabitants of this country. He is attacking educated people, refugees, the physically disabled, nonprofits and especially strongly recently, he has attacked Romani people.
Andrej Babiš is driven by a similar policy, rejecting solidarity with the EU in the area of migration and attacking the common border guard services. He is attacking refugees, refusing the UN's migration pact, which has been signed by most countries, and defending Hungarian PM Orbán's authoritarian, xenophobic regime.
17 November is the day when Czechoslovak students - and not only they - stood up against totalitarian ideologies and their propaganda, first in 1939 and then again in 1989, when they were brave enough to say that the truth remains true and lies are lies no matter how we dress them up. You can repeat a lie one hundred times and it will never become the truth.
17 November is the day of our fight for freedom. President Miloš Zeman, through his behavior, is intentionally dividing society.
Andrej Babiš seeks votes with the aid of xenophobia. We reject these politics of hate and lies.
We do not want the President of our state to divide society and insult many citizens of the Czech Republic. We do not want to turn our country, along with Andrej Babiš, into an egotistical, hateful little country in the eyes of Europe and the world.
We want to be part of a democratic, humanistic Europe. For that reason we have come together on 17 November 2018 - as the majority, as Romani people, as activists, as citizens, as non-disabled and disabled people - to say "NO" to this dividing of the nation, to say "NO" to hatred and lies, and in the spirit of 17 November, to say "YES" to love and truth."
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