Czech Republic: Hundreds demonstrate against meeting of anti-immigration hate parties from all over Europe
Yesterday in Prague, according to police, approximately 300 predominantly left-wing activists protested against today's planned meeting in the Czech capital of representatives of anti-immigration parties from all over Europe. Organizers of the event claim approximately 500 people turned out.
Beginning on the Old Town Square and chanting slogans condemning hate, nationalism, resistance to the reception of immigrants, ultra-right opinions and xenophobia generally, the demonstrators proceeded to Jungmannovo náměstí. More protests by the same organizers are planned for today, as are demonstrations by other activists, all timed to take place during the Prague conference of representatives of the parties aligned in the "Europe of Nations and Freedom" (ENF) group at the European Parliament (EP).
Yesterday the organizers of the protest called for participation in a direct action this morning involving a blockade of the conference attendees' access to the conference location at the Top Hotel. The Prague meeting of the ENF is being hosted by the Czech "Freedom and Direct Democracy" (SPD) movement.
Yesterday protesters assembled at the Hotel Intercontinental in Prague's Old Town. Jonáš Kreisinger, speaking on behalf of the protest organizers, told the Czech News Agency that the hotel was one location where conference attendees are allegedly being accommodated.
Kreisinger said he did not know whether the ultra-right politicians were actually ultimately accommodated there. The organizers said their protests would be peaceful but that they want to make the visit to Prague unpleasant for those attending the conference.
Yesterday's march could be heard in the Old Town thanks to the use of drums and a sound system, and those participating shouted slogans in Czech and English condemning the politics of Fascism, nationalism and hatred, calling instead for the reception of refugees and for solidarity. "Brownshirts in Parliament, we will take the towns and streets, we are the anti-Fascist coalition, they will not pass through us!" was one of the slogans shouted.
Banners were carried with the messages "FCK SPD", "United Europe" (Sjednocenou Evropu), "Outlaws of this country rise up!" (Již vzhůru psanci této země), "Social justice, not racism, nationalism and xenophobia" (Sociální spravedlnost místo rasismu, nacionalismu a xenofobie). The representatives of the ENF parties reportedly want to publicize their vision for future collaborations between their countries in Europe at the Prague meeting.
The ENF claim that the European Union should be replaced by cooperation between sovereign countries but that freedom of movement for capital, goods, persons and services should remain as it is. Those attending the conference are said to include Geert Wilders of the Netherlands and the chair of France's Front National, Marine Le Pen, who were scheduled to be welcomed in the lower house yesterday by the chair of the SPD movement, Tomio Okamura, but the SPD did not publish any further details about that meeting.
Police undertook heightened security measures yesterday because of that particular meeting. Three police minivans and a vehicle with cameras on its roof were parked in Sněmovní Street yesterday evening and there was an unusually high police presence around the main building of the lower house.
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