European far-right leaders, including Marine Le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, gathered in Prague on Thursday for private meetings and a public rally in support of Czech politician Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party, or the SPD. The fiercely anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic party is the fourth-largest in the Czech lower house and aims to win its first seats in the European Parliament in May.
The Interior Ministry wants to focus on hate speech on social networks and
sites spreading fake news, according to its 2018 report on extremism and
priorities outlined for the future.
The ministry says verbal expressions of racism and xenophobia are concentrated around sites featuring fake news, conspiracy theories and disinformation.
It wants to launch a counter-offensive in the form of a campaign based on reliable information on migration and integration of foreign nationals in Czech society.
The police are investigating a racial attack against lower house deputy
Dominik Feri in Moravia on Sunday.
The incident happened in the town of Borsice where Feri was attending a cultural event. He was attacked on the streets of the town by two men who knifed and punched him yelling that „niggers had no place in politics“.
Feri was treated at the local hospital and is said to be recovering.
Politicians across the political spectrum have condemned the attack. Dominik Feri, who has Ethiopian roots, is an MP for the centre-right TOP 09 party.
Three MPs have quit Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.
Lubomír Volný, Marian Bojko and Ivana Nevludová were all elected in the
Moravian Silesian Region. Mr. Volný said the move was in protest at the
fact that the party had allowed racists and neo-Nazis to enter its ranks.
He has rejected a call from Freedom and Direct Democracy to also resign
from his seat in the Chamber of Deputies.
Mr. Volný is a controversial figure who in the past called Václav Havel a traitor, criticised the Erasmus scheme for students and offered to “take outside” a dispute with another MP during a lower house session. Soon after he announced that he would challenge Mr. Okamura for the party chairmanships his local branch was dissolved.
Czech pensioner Jaromír Balda has confessed to cutting down trees that
landed on railroad tracks, causing two train accidents in 2017. Mr. Balda,
who is 71, told the Prague Municipal Court on Monday that he had left
leaflets at the scene bearing fake “jihadist” slogans in order to
discredit migrants, who he referred to as a “horror”.
The pensioner said that he has recovered his wits since being in jail for nearly a year and that he had not intended to hurt anyone. The case is being prosecuted as a terrorist attack and the perpetrator faces up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
The Indian comedian and actor Vir Das has complained that he and his
parents were repeatedly ignored by staff at Café Café in central Prague.
He wrote on Twitter, where he has over 7.5 million followers, that they had
tried six times to get service but the café did not "really like
serving brown people".
The comedian has since deleted the Tweet in question and said he had heard from the owner of Café Café, who apologised for the behaviour of his staff. The owner told the Czech News Agency that it had been a misunderstanding rather than a racist incident.
The regional court in Tachov has revealed details of the verdict in the
case of a 26-year-old woman charged with hate speech against a mixed class
The woman, who was found guilty of inciting racial hatred on social networks was handed a suspended sentence and fined 20,000 crowns. The verdict may still be appealed.
The woman commented on a class photo of largely Romany, Arab and Vietnamese first-graders in a local school, saying they should all be shot. The incident caused public outrage and the school was given special police protection.
A 26-year-old woman has been found guilty of hate speech on social networks
in connection with hateful comments which appeared under a class photo of
first-graders in a school in Teplice, published in a regional daily just
over a year ago.
Reacting to the mix of Czech, Romany, Vietnamese and Arab children in the group photo, the woman wrote they should all be shot.
Details of the verdict have not yet been released, since all parties involved first need to be informed about it in writing.
The Czech BIS intelligence service has warned of the growing danger of
paramilitary groups, which have around 2,000 members in total, iDnes.cz
reported. BIS says that some such militia groups are attempting to forge
ties with state organisations and members of the national and local police
forces, the news site said.
In its latest report on extremism in the Czech Republic, the Ministry of the Interior writes that some paramilitary groups are xenophobic, racist and fiercely opposed to Czech foreign policy. However, they frequently disguise their ideological leanings and promote “defence education”.
iDnes.cz reported that the groups learn how to handle pistols, knives and other weapons and often believe that the Czech Republic could overnight be flooded with migrants keen to subjugate the local population.