DSSS files criminal charges over Czech-Romani flag exhibit
The ultra-right Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) is filing criminal charges against the organizers of an exhibition featuring designs for a new state flag, the so-called "Czech-Romani flag". According to the DSSS, the organizers have violated the law on the use of the state symbols of the Czech Republic.
Party chair Tomáš Vandas reported his filing of the charges today on the party's website. The flag designs were created by Slovak artist Tomáš Rafa, who is attempting to contribute to the ongoing discussion about coexistence between the majority society and minorities in the Czech Republic.
Designs for the Czech-Romani flag are on view at the National Technical Library and in the Artwall Gallery, which is using a wall beneath the Letná Orchards in Prague to present the art. The flags are based on the existing Czech state flag and include an Indian wheel in various forms, referring to the Romani people's place of origin.
"We are calling on the criminal justice authorities to immediately initiate steps to prevent this violation of the law and to immediately close this exhibit desecrating the Czech flag. We are turning to the relevant state prosecutor's office and the Police of the Czech Republic in this matter," Vandas wrote.
The party is referencing the law on the use of state symbols, which states that no text, picture, portrait, symbol or emblem is permitted on the state flag. Misuse or gross disparagement of the flag is a misdemeanor under the law, for which perpetrators can be fined up to CZK 10 000.
The DSSS, which is now brandishing the Czech flag, has actually long collaborated with German neo-Nazis. The details of that collaboration have been reported in the following articles:
German Police raid neo-Nazis linked to Freies Netz Süd, which collaborates with the DSSS
Czech ultra-right party invites German neo-Nazis to tomorrow's 1 May demo in Prague
Open neo-Nazis also are directly involved in the DSSS ranks, not just as sympathizers, but also as party members. That fact was reported in this article
Czech Republic: Neo-Nazis, including DSSS members, did attend recent anti-Romani demonstration
The predecessor to the DSSS was the Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS), which the Supreme Administrative Court dissolved, among other reasons because it was carrying on the legacy of Hitler's ideology and was a neo-Nazi party with tendencies toward racism and xenophobia. The DS leadership was identical to that of the DSSS today, led by Tomáš Vandas.
Details about the ideology of the Workers' Party and its dissolution are reported in the following articles:
Workers’ Party is dissolved for illegal Nazi ideology
Workers’ Party ideologically and rhetorically linked to Nazism
The author of the Czech-Romani flag designs, Tomáš Rafa, has been documenting manifestations of nationalism and xenophobia in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia for several years. While the exhibit is open, people can cast their votes for the design of the flag they prefer, either on Facebook or in the gallery of the National Technical Library in Prague.
The winning design should embody the intertwining of the Romani ethnicity with the Czech Republic. Organizers will give the flag to the Czech Government Inter-ministerial Commission for Romani Community Affairs for its use.
Romani people have had their own international flag since 1971. It features a field of blue symbolizing heaven above a green one symbolizing the earth. Those fields are overlaid with a large red wheel, which references the Romani people's Indian origins.
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