Saturday, 17 March 2018

Ethnic minorities condemn Freedom and Direct Democracy ideology

8 March 2018

Prague, March 7 (CTK) - Representatives of Czech ethnic minorities on Wednesday condemned the ideology of the Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) and its leader Tomio Okamura, based on intolerance, and called on President Milos Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babis to reject the SPD and Okamura's hateful statements.

This was said in a joint statement by eight representatives of the ethnic minorities headed by secretary of the government council for ethnic minorities Milan Pospisil.

They had in mind Okamura's having questioned the existence of the concentration camp for the Roma in Lety, south Bohemia.

Due to the affair, the Chamber of Deputies may vote on dismissing Okamura as a deputy chairman of the Chamber of Deputies later on Wednesday, as proposed by the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL).

The statement said all publicly active people should not make any statements fomenting hateful and xenophobic moods.

As persons with a large influence on the public, Zeman and Babis have the moral duty to stand up against hateful, dangerous and false statements, the representatives said.

"The consequences of ethnic, racial and religious intolerance can be fateful, as we know from the recent past," they added.

The hateful statements by some SPD members can turn into a physical aggression and serious incidents, they said.

The ethnic representatives sharply condemned what Okamura said about the Lety camp.

In January, Okamura said the Lety camp had not been fenced. Later he admitted that there was a fence, but insisted that no one guarded it and the inmates could freely move around.

SPD deputy Miroslav Rozner criticised the purchase of the pig farm near the Lety commemorative site, which the previous cabinet approved with the aim to have the farm pulled down.

"Undoubtedly, I would never throw half a billion crowns out of the window for the removal of a well-running company for the sake of a never existing so-called concentration camp," Rozner told an SPD congress last year according to Czech Television (CT).

The ethnic representatives also warned of Jaroslav Stanik, a former SPD secretary, having said homosexuals, Jews and the Roma should be all sent to gas chambers.

"Everyone is directly responsible for one's behaviour and acts, not for one's origin. Czech society is threatened by populism, extremism and abuse of the complicated situation of vulnerable persons, which is embodied by Okamura's ideology," they added.

The statement was signed by representatives of the Bulgarian, Polish, Roma, Slovak, German, Vietnamese, Russian and Greek ethnic minorities as well as Pospisil.

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