Prague, April 12 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman thanked Interior Minister Milan Chovanec and Police President Tomas Tuhy yesterday for the police actions during the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Prague.
Zeman also said he appreciated the professional attitude and actions that the police took during a demonstration, which he addressed on November 17, 2015, which was a national holiday.
When he praised the police, Zeman said it would be bad not to express his respect only to avoid being discredited by the often corrupt media.
Zeman said one must realise whom the police officers are facing. He said these people were no political opponents, but dangerous radicals.
Zeman said pulling down flags was not expressing opinions, but defamation of state symbols. He said setting police cars on fire was not expressing opinions and people from Prague’s Klinika centre prepared demonstrations aimed to set police cars on fire.
Some Czech activists protesting against violations of human rights in China pulled down or sprayed with dyes Chinese flags that decorated some Prague streets on the occasion of Xi’s visit. The flag decorations were paid by a Czech-Chinese business chamber as an advertising campaign.
The Klinika social centre provides aid for refugees. Late last year, the centre was attacked by a masked group on a day when demonstrations against immigrants were held in Prague. The Charter 77 Foundation recently awarded the centre for bravery.
The police have been criticised for some actions they took during the two above events. The right-wing opposition would like to hold a special parliamentary session to deal with the steps the police took during Xi’s Prague visit.
Two police officers inquired at the Film School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) about the Tibetan Flag that the school hoisted during Xi’s visit. Tuhy had to apologise to the school and the two officers face disciplinary proceedings because of their conduct.
Zeman resolutely supported the police for not letting a crowd of people who supported Tibet enter a square next to the Prague Castle, although their demonstration was announced in advance and permitted.
This had to be done in order to guarantee security of “the second most important man on the planet (Xi Jinping),” he said. Sane people ought to understand this, he added.
In reaction, opposition TOP 09 leader Miroslav Kalousek said on Twitter it seems absolutely clear now whose political orders the police followed when they bullied Czech citizens. Kalousek said the Czech government bore responsibility for this, too, however.
The police are assessing the security measures taken during the Chinese visit and the results of the internal police investigation are to be known by the end of the week.
Xi Jinping visited Prague on March 28-30. The police intervened in a number of cases, against both opponents and supporters of the Chinese president. Chovanec dismissed the view that the police sided with the Chinese, but Czech activists claim that they were groundlessly bullied.
On November 17, 2015, Zeman appeared next to Martin Konvicka, leader of the far-right movement Bloc against Islam, as a speaker at a public rally at Prague-Albertov. Within the security measures adopted in connection with the president’s presence, the police refused to let representatives of students who wanted to lay flowers at Albertov.