Czech Republic: Demonstrations against neo-Nazis and racists set for Saturday
This coming Saturday, the extremist Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) will be convening three demonstrations in the Šluknov foothills. In response to these hate gatherings, an initiative called Hate is No Solution (Nenávist není řešením) is convening a peaceful gathering to show that respectable people believe hatred is not the solution to the situation there. "The civic initiative 'Hate is No Solution' ('Nenávist není řešení') is convening a peaceful gathering on Saturday, 10 September in Nový Bor at 12:00 and then another one in Rumburk, which will start at 17:30," the initiative's press release reads.
"We'll be there. On Saturday at noon we will meet in Nový Bor for a calm, peaceful gathering. We won't get in anyone else's way, we'll just be there so everyone can see that there are other respectable people who believe hate is not the solution," said lawyer Robert Pelikán, one of the initiators of the gatherings.
The initiative believes tension between ethnic Czechs and Romani people is growing in North Bohemia and has decided to demonstrate its disagreement with the activities of the DSSS, saying that neo-Nazis are feeding on the situation as a whole. "From their racist attacks and murders, as well as from their ideology, we know full well where they want to the situation to head. Their aim is hate, racial war, and violence. The demonstrations planned by the Workers' Party SS for this Saturday in Nový Bor, Rumburk and Varnsdorf are supposed to represent the next steps toward a race war," the initiative's declaration reads.
Miroslav Brož, spokesperson for this new initiative, said: "This initiative is bringing together representatives of various groups and is governed by an enormous willingness to show our active disagreement with the dissemination of racism and the provocation of violence. We are people of various political opinions, religious affiliations or lack thereof, and skin colors. What brings us together is our concern about the ongoing events in North Bohemia and our resistance to racism."
"We don't deny there are problems with coexistence, but applying the guilt of individuals to an entire ethnicity is unfair and just deteriorates the situation. When a minority is being terrorized by more and more obvious threats, and when even some 'respectable people' are marching side by side with neo-Nazis, we cannot just stand by. We would like to make a statement in North Bohemia in favor of our life together and of our towns being safe, shared homes for all their inhabitants. It is our moral obligation to come out against the dissemination of hatred, neo-Nazism and racism," said initiative spokesperson Monika Bunžová of the Czech Helsinki Committee.
"We are calling on everyone to come make this statement with us," initiative representatives say, adding that the voices of those opposed to hate will be heard this Saturday in addition to the voices of the racists. "Please participate so our common voice can be as loud as possible."
"This is not just a problem of the Šluknov foothills and it is not just a problem of the Romani minority. We are at a crossroads, a moment that will decide what our society is going to be like. If we are too lazy this coming Saturday, if we give priority to our private lives, this will become a society of hatred, and it will be our fault," Robert Pelikán said.
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