Czech PM: The President should not attend events organized by xenophobes
Speaking in an interview for the Czech daily Hospodářské noviny (HN), Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech Social Democratic Party - ČSSD) said the Czech President should not make appearances at events organized by xenophobic sects disseminating hatred. The PM said he believes that by giving a speech on the state holiday of 17 November at Albertov in Prague side-by-side with representatives of the extremist Bloc against Islam group, President Zeman has now joined the populists who are feeding like parasites on people's fears of the so-called Islamic State and the migration crisis.
Zeman has objected to the characterization, saying his speech contained no hateful or Islamophobic formulations. "The highest Constitutional officer of a country that has a deep democratic and humanist tradition should not appear at assemblies of xenophobic sects that fulfill the aim of disseminating intensive hatred," Sobotka told the daily.
The PM said that by participating in the event at Albertov, the Czech President has legitimized the dissemination of extreme hatred and xenophobia. He also said that the President's performance had not just angered him personally, but the entire ČSSD, including its conservative left wing, which has long supported Zeman.
"At the current moment, all of us in the Social Democrats are terribly upset with Mr President over what he has done," the PM said. Zeman has rejected the criticism.
"It would be good to read my speech, you will not find a single hateful, Islamophobic formulation in it. On the contrary, you will find it includes a call for dialogue and tolerance, as well as a call for us to not label our ideological opponents. That is what Mr Prime Minister has done, and I believe a good Prime Minister would not behave like this," the President told HN.
Bloc against Islam, the group whose representatives accompanied Zeman during his appearance at Albertov, espouses a negative position on refugees and rejects the idea of receiving them. Supporters of the group are calling for the absolute removal of Muslims from the Czech Republic.
Promoters of neo-Nazi or ultra-right organizations have turned up at several of the events against Islam this year in the Czech Republic. Czech Minister for Human Rights and Legislation Jiří Dienstbier (ČSSD) has already criticized Zeman for his appearance at Albertov on the occasion of the 17 November anniversary, saying the President is aiding in the creation of an atmosphere for the fascisization of Czech society.
Dienstbier also said that some of the remarks that have been made by the head of state are Islamophobic, xenophobic and are creating fear in society. According to five Czech MEPs from the parties of the Christian Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors (Starosty), Zeman is distancing himself from democratic values through his public support for these fascisizing movements.
- Czech Human Rights Minister: President Zeman is helping the fascisization of Czech society
- Czech Police refuse students access to 1989 memorial in advance of President joining anti-Islam activists for their event
- Analysis: Will Czech President Zeman make it into the 2015 extremism report?
- European Commission President Juncker: EU countries must not reject refugees because of Paris attacks
- Czech PM will not personally fund Syrian orphanage, claims he is donating to existing ones instead
- Italian court upholds acquittal and exoneration of captain who rescued migrants
- BBC reports Twitter makes it possible to target ads at members of hate groups or teens with eating disorders
- Czech lower house will not discuss accepting unaccompanied minor refugees - ANO, Communists, SocDems and ultra-nationalists opposed it
- Czech court gives suspended sentences and fines to "Bloc against Islamicization" followers over death threats to random pedestrians
- Austria, Germany on track to employ half of the refugees who arrived during the migration crisis four years ago
- Czech court to try Islamophobes who attacked Muslim couple in a park last year
- WHO: Migrants to Europe are not disease vectors, but their immigration journeys and poor conditions on arrival damage their health
- Czech national holiday to see protests against President's remarks about Roma and other minorities
- Monika Mihaličková: Czech President should take a look in the mirror and give himself a slap - "gypsy" is an insulting term
- Hungarian Supreme Court says camerawoman who kicked asylum-seekers committed misdemeanor and can no longer be prosecuted
- ROMEA to Czech President: Romani life in communist Czechoslovakia included forced assimilation, forced sterilization of women, segregated education