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Czechs mark 71st anniversary of the end of World War II

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P, May 8 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman and other politicians, soldiers and war veterans marked the 71st anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe at a ceremony at the National Memorial on Vitkov Hill in Prague yesterday within which a military parade was held and wreaths were laid.
The ceremony was accompanied by a flight of two military Gripen firefighters and a Challenger CL 601.
The ceremony was also attended by the chairmen of the two houses of parliament, Milan Stech and Jan Hamacek, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (all Social Democrats, CSSD), Defence Minsiter Martin Stropnicky (ANO), Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL), mayor of Prague Adriana Krnacova and Cardinal Dominik Duka.
In a press release, Sobotka warned of the danger posed by a political ideology based on thinking in the categories “we and they.”
“A blanket denouncing and spreading of prejudices based on sex, religion, political opinion, sexual orientation or origin always eventually result in evil and violence,” Sobotka wrote.
He stressed the need for an active civic defence of democratic values “irrespective of whether we are leftist or rightist democrats.”
“The rise of the Nazi totalitarian regime was enabled not only by the indifference to the persecution of ‘the others,’ but also the inability of democrats to jointly stand up to the Nazis,” Sobotka wrote.
The number of war veterans who can attend the celebrations of the end of the war is annually decreasing. Since last year, when the 70th anniversary of the war’s end was marked, about 300 veterans have died, Eduard Stehlik, director of the war veterans department at the Defence Ministry, said.
He said slightly above 700 veterans are still alive.
Commemorative events marking the anniversary of the war’s end are held at several places in Prague and in other Czech towns.

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