Czech Republic: Hundreds march against nationalism in Prague on 17 November
Approximately 500 people attended yesterday's demonstration in Prague called "Nationalism Is No Alternative", which drew attention to growing authoritarianism in politics and growing racism and xenophobia in society. The march began in front of the main train station and ended at Jungmannovo náměstí and was organized by the "No to Racism" Initiative.
Demonstrators chanted slogans such as "Nobody Is Illegal" or "Nationalism Is No Alternative". They also carried anti-nationalist banners.
A van played music to accompany them on the way and speeches were also made during the march. The event was attended by members of the Feminist Bloc and the Young Greens. In front of the headquarters of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), demonstrators read aloud the controversial remarks made by some politicians recently and threw crumpled paper at the building as a symbol of the waste they allege "is right at home" there.
"When people chant 'Nothing but the Nation' they are not saying anything at all, and those empty phrases are then filled with artifical fear. Politicians are exploiting all of that for their own aims. It seems that what was not acceptable even just a few years ago is getting by now without any serious hesitation," a representative of the "No to Racism" Initiative said in her speech on Jungmannovo náměstí.
The speaker reminded those assembled of last year's appearance by Czech President Zeman on 17 November, when he shared a podium with the self-described opponent of Islam in the Czech Republic, Martin Konvička. Police did not have to address any serious incidents in connection with yesterday's march.
One participant committed a misdemeanor when he drove his van onto the sidewalk. According to the police website, Prague City Hall will deal with the incident.
The initiative sent a statement to the Czech News Agency criticizing the attitude of Czech society toward refugee reception and Romani people. "This demonstration is a response to the fact that racism in Czech society is becoming the norm. The vast majority of Czech men and women have a negative relationship to Romani people and anybody else who is not white enough to be considered a 'decent' Czech," Lucie Hůlová said in the statement.
The "No to Racism" initiative was created in 2010 as an antifascist student organization in response to what the initiative views as the fascisizing, xenophobic tendencies in Czech soceity. The initiative sees the center of its activity primarily as holding public assemblies in the streets, organizing discussions and lectures both abroad and at home, and performing other practical work.
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