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Czech semi-military National Guard starts activities

Prague, 6.1.2008 19:15, (ROMEA/CTK)

The National Guard, a semi-military organisation established by teh nationalist National Party (NS), went into operation on Saturday afternoon, the party says on its internet site.

Over the past weeks, the guard was only registering persons interested in membership and was choosing its uniforms and equipment. On Saturday candidates for membership were chosen. They will now undergo a 90-day training, the guard says on the internet.

Interior Minister Ivan Langer (Civic Democrats, ODS) said previously his ministry would very carefully monitor the guard's activities.
"I consider it a very serious matter that is completely unacceptable for me. The new police leadership must carefully insist on the observance of laws and to take uncompromising action in case of their breach," Langer said.

Frantisek Bublan (opposition Social Democrats, CSSD), chairman of the Chamber of Deputies security committee, and Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic have sharply criticised the planned establishment of the guard.

The founders claim the guard is not armed, but it is based on a "strict military principle." The guard's activities are to rest in "assistance and service to the homeland," they say.

"It is a semi-military organised group that will serve not only our meetings, but also in disasters," party chairwoman Petra Edelmannova said.

Political scientist Miroslav Mares, who deals with nationalism and development in radical groupings, said previously the guard will have neither equipment, nor experience nor training to fulfil its proclaimed goals.

The Interior Ministry said previously that if the guard wanted to be officially registered as a civic association, it would not most probably get the necessary consent.

Unless it tries to be registered, everything will rest in police hands. The police squad for uncovering organised crime (UOOZ) is also monitoring the guard.

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Czech republic, Extremism, National Guard



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