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Russian Night Wolves honour war dead in Prague, face critics

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Prague, May 7 (CTK) – Bikers from the Russian nationalist Russian Night Wolves motorcycle club arrived in Prague’s Olsanske hrbitovy cemetery on Monday, paid respect to the Red Army war dead and met over 150 supporters and dozens of opponents, while both groups had a verbal exchange.

After they met the two groups, the bikers laid wreaths at the memorial to the war dead.

The supporters of the Russian Night Wolves bikers shouted vulgarly at their opponents, who carried EU, Ukraine and NATO flags. The police detained one of the protesters, who attempted to approach the supporters of the club.

There were similar exchanges between both groups earlier on Monday in Pruhonice near Prague. Among the followers of the Night Wolves, there was Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy chairman Jaroslav Foldyna who had a verbal exchange and physical contact with one of the protesters.

The Night Wolves have a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who visits their events.

Previously, the club was sponsored by the Kremlin, but last year, its application for a state grant was turned down.

The club’s head, Alexandr Zaldostanov, is blacklisted by the USA and the EU over his support for the Russian annexation of Crimea.

The Night Wolves stage rides across Europe on the anniversary of Victory each year.

The protesters on Monday argued that the Night Wolves spread Russian propaganda.

Foldyna defended the Night Wolves.

“They did not come here to stage any political provocation, but to pay respect (to the Russian soldiers),” he said.

The Social Democrats have distanced themselves from Foldyna’s participation in the Night Wolves’s event, the server said.

“This is Foldyna’s private initiative, purely his personal affair. I would hate to see the CSSD as being connected with the ride of the controversial biking club in any way,” party leader Jan Hamacek said.

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