Czech President Zeman marks US Independence Day by calling Black Lives Matter "racist"
The slogan "Black Lives Matter", which is being used in protests in the USA and worldwide, is one that Czech President Miloš Zeman believes is "racist", according to a statement he made during a visit to the residency of the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic marking the 244th anniversary of that country's Independence Day. He then went on to say that "all lives matter".
Zeman criticized those whom he called the "opinion leaders" associated with the protests. He said he has no need for new "Big Brothers" telling him what values to hold.
The Czech President also said "society" in both the Czech Republic and the USA is currently "facing assaults" on the "independence" of citizens. "We cannot ignore this danger, we must counter it," he said.
Zeman also criticized the recent unrest in the streets of the USA, the destruction of statues, and the setting of automobiles on fire. He added that he was attending the event as an "independent citizen" and a "friend" of the USA.
"Speaking in both of those roles, I say the slogan 'Black Lives Matter' is racist, because all lives matter," the Czech President declared. He gave his remarks in English.
Zeman began by saying his speech would be "slightly impolite" and not as warm as he would customarily be. When criticizing the behavior of demonstrators in the USA and "opinion leaders", he quoted the lyrics of the folk song "Old Time Religion".
"What was good enough for my father and mother is good enough for me," the Czech President said. In his view, "society" in the Czech Republic and the USA needs to "preserve its freedom" to create opinions as well as its "common sense".
"The same goes for the so-called opinion leaders. I don't need any new Big Brothers, I don't need any new opinion leaders," Zeman told those assembled.
The Black Lives Matter movement in the USA has been contributing to organizing protests against police brutality and racism, most recently those sparked by the murder of George Floyd in May during a disproportionate police intervention in which a police officer kneeled on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes even though the restrained man repeatedly said he was unable to breathe. Protests against the murder have been held throughout the United States and many other countries.
US Ambassador Stephen King called the USA an ally and friend of the Czech Republic in his speech on the occasion of Independence Day. He gave an assessment of the last few months, which have been especially marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have made great sacrifices, but today I feel the worst is behind us and the process of rebuilding has begun," the ambassador said. In his view, the Czech Republic was united during the pandemic and took rapid action.
"I feel optimism in the air already now," King said. The celebration at the residency of the US Ambassador was attended by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (Association of Dissatisfied Citiens - ANO) and his wife, Monika, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček (for ANO), President of the Czech Senate Miloš Vystrčil (Civic Democratic Party - ODS), Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates), Cardinal Dominik Duka, and the Chief of the General Staff of the Czech Army, Aleš Opata.
- Czech Human Rights Commissioner says President supports her remaining in that position
- Czech President to nominate former Deputy Public Defender of Rights candidate for next Public Defender of Rights
- Czech Social Democratic Party has new candidate for President to nominate as ombudswoman after his first choice declines due to pressure over her past
- Czech President nominates current Human Rights Commissioner as candidate for ombudswoman, opposition not enthusiastic
- Lifeguard gets state honors from Czech President for injuries sustained in brawl that sparked ultra-right anti-Romani demonstration
- Czech President Havel protested against the wall separating non-Roma from Roma on Matiční Street 20 years ago
- Czech President and Senate may both nominate former Human Rights Commissioner for Deputy Ombudswoman
- Czech right-wing extremist and 9/11 apologist cozies up to new movement run by son of former President
- Commentary: Czech President spouts reassuring nonsense to ultra-nationalists
- MEP of Romani origin Soraya Post asks ROMEA TV: How can Czech President Zeman be so stupid?
- Czech MP compares French President Macron to Hitler at commemoration of the Nazi occupation, Czech Defense Ministry distances itself
- US State Department says Czech Republic is grappling with anti-Roma hatred, including from the President
- Czech court sentences Romani man to six months in prison for hate speech against the Czech President and others
- German MP who recently visited Czech President met with South African racists on official visit
- Czech State Security Council takes note of extremism report as originally worded, Czech President did not get his way
- More Roma citizens of Romania attempting to cross from Mexico into the USA to seek asylum this year
- Football hooligans and neo-Nazis blame all Roma for violent crime and march through Czech town, riot police deployed
- Czech extremists move from inciting anti-Romani hatred to railing against "COVID terror" ahead of fall elections
- Czech appeals court exceptionally reduces sentence for social media user who approved of Christchurch massacre, notes current law is imbalanced
- František Kostlán: Both the Jews and the Roma were victims of the Holocaust
- Czech lower house committee chooses attorney now facing disciplinary action for making light of racist crime to join public broadcasting board
- Czech court hands down sentencing in pool brawl case, one Romani man acquitted for having attempted to stop the altercation
- Czech court sentences brutal, racially-motivated assailant who attacked Romani man in front of children to 7.5 years in prison
- Czech footballer appeals UEFA ban, insists he never said anything racist
- Czech court gives suspended sentence to attacker who threatened to kill Romani women and their children with an ax
- Two brothers of Radek Banga object to his remarks about Roma in Czech media interview and his portrayal of their family in his book
- Czech court reopens case against accused neo-Nazis that has lasted more than a decade