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October 17, 2018
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Spiegel Online reports Czech Republic has a problem with extremism

22.11.2017 9:05
Czech Police intervening against extremists on 12 August 2017 during the Prague Pride parade celebrating the LGBT community. (PHOTO:  Vít Hassan)
Czech Police intervening against extremists on 12 August 2017 during the Prague Pride parade celebrating the LGBT community. (PHOTO: Vít Hassan)

The German news server Spiegel Online reports that while during the 1990s the Czech Republic responded to racism and sedition with an "uprising of the respectable", today mainstream politicians are competing to outdo the right-wing extremist parties in order to win a majority in Parliament. The article entitled "Prague Winter" alleges that the country has changed.

The piece criticizes Czech President Miloš Zeman, among others. Spiegel Online describes the current affair around the racist responses to the photograph of first- graders at a primary school in Teplice, or the brutal attack by football rowdies on a man from West Africa on a Prague tram.

"These are far from the very worst such cases in the Czech Republic," the news server states, reminding readers that during the 1990s and after 2000 the country experienced many racially motivated murders of Africans and Romani people. Previously, however, according to Spiegel Online, there was a broad anti-extremist and anti-racist consensus predominant in Czech politics and society.

Today, according to the server, things are different. While Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Czech Education Minister Stanislav Štech have condemned these racist displays, Czech President Zeman relativized them.

Spiegel Online also reports that Zeman made a racist remark when he alleged that 90 % of the "inadaptable" citizens in the country are probably Romani. Such remarks, according to Spiegel Online, are not unique and are not made just by the head of state.

The most recent displays of racism, according to the online magazine, were seen in the context of the October Parliamentary elections in which parties profiled as against the establishment, as well as ultra-right parties, scored gains. Spiegel Online reports that the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) party of Tomio Okamura, who is advocating, among other things, for a ban on Islam in the Czech Republic, have enough votes to be able, together with the communists, to prop up the Government being formed by the head of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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