Marine Le Pen visits former Czech President, activists confront her in Prague
Activists from the Young Greens (Mladí zelení) organization in the Czech Republic protested on 6 May at a conference called "Peace and Prosperity in Europe After the European Union" against the appearance of French politician Marine Le Pen in the Czech Parliament. The chair of France's Front National (FN) arrived in Prague on Tuesday and attended the conference, which was organized by the Civic Conservative Party (Občanská konzervativní strana - OKS).
The OKS was founded by former Civic Democratic Party (ODS) MP Jiří Janeček. It is a partner of the FN in the Czech Republic.
On Tuesday evening Le Pen met with former Czech President Klaus and other sympathizers. "Even though the Front National and its representative are attempting to distance themselves today from their previously openly extremist declarations, they continue to advocate an ultra-nationalist, xenophobic policy. This conference, organized by the Civic Conservative Party, paradoxically references the peace and prosperity of our continent, but we believe the rise of the extreme right is one of the greatest threats to Europe today," said Tomáš Křemen, a spokesperson for the Young Greens.
"Right-wing populist parties like the Front National are doing their best to legitimize racism and xenophobia as a component of the political mainstream and place the blame for our current economic and social problems in Europe on the most vulnerable. Their incendiary stance on immigrants and minorities continues the very worst European traditions. We disagree with the fact that at a time when we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, politicians have been invited to Prague who are actively engaged in revitalizing the Fascist legacy in Europe," Křemen said.
Le Pen discussed the future of Europe with Klaus during Tuesday's meeting. She referenced their discussion at a press conference held 6 May after the conference in the lower house at which she presented.
She claims to have promised Klaus that she will correct the "great injustice" that he was never invited to France when he was President. He is reportedly scheduled to appear at FN events to talk about his opinions of the European Union and the euro, which, like Le Pen, he has long criticized.
Le Pen also said at the press conference that she and Klaus discussed topics that interest them both, the future of Europe in particular. "President Klaus said that France was the only country that never invited him during his time in office. I will correct this great injustice," she said.
The FN leader is said to have come to Prague to support groups of a similar mindset to her party. She rejected the allegations that the First Czech-Russian Bank (První česko-ruská banka), which has provided her party an enormous loan, was behind her visit.
Le Pen claims she maintains no contacts at the bank, which was created several years ago in the Czech Republic and is now headquartered in Russia, just that she is repaying the loan at a high interest rate. She said the fact that her partner in the Czech Republic is just a marginal party is irrelevant.
"We are not opportunists. We are not intentionally looking for parties that will win large numbers of votes," she said. "We are looking for partners who are taking the same path that we are, who share our ideas, which are about liberty, preserving the integrity of our own nation, and sovereignty. We will aid them with every means at our disposal."
VIDEO of the protest
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