Prague, Nov 19 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman in his speech in Prague-Albertov on November 17, marking the anniversary of the 1989 collapse of communism, deviated from democratic values and publicly supported a fascistoid moment, five MEP have written in a letter to Zeman released to CTK.
The MEPs for the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) and opposition TOP 09 and Mayors (STAN) point out that the radical Block against Islam, which they call fascistoid, also participate din the meeting on Tuesday, while students were prevented from joining it and paying homage to their predecessors in Albertov due to the police barriers. Consequently, participants in the event were selected.
They call such measures disproportionate and at variance with the principle of a democratic rule of law.
Presidential Office spokesman Jiri Ovcacek dismissed the criticism.
November 17 is a national holiday, on which the students who fell victim to Nazi persecution in 1939 and the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in 1989 are remembered.
“We reject this way of segregating citizens, which actually occurred in Albertov, as well as your apparent public support for a fascistoid movement, aimed against a particular religion, whose representatives are publicly challenging the democratic constitutional order,” the MEPs write.
Bloc against Islam chairman Martin Konvicka, who was standing on the stage with Zeman on Tuesday, wrote about “Muslims being minced into meat and bone meal” on Facebook in the past.
“The president should be unbiased and loyal to the constitution and his oath. Your address given before your own banner and surrounded by the crowd of carefully selected persons is deviating from the democratic principles for which the students in Albertov were fighting. Your steps cannot be justified by tightened security measures,” the MEP said.
The letter was signed by Michaela Sojdrova and Pavel Svoboda (KDU-CSL) as well as Ludek Niedermayer, Stanislav Polcak and Jaromir Stetina (for TOP 09 and STAN).
Jiri Pospisil, an MEP for the conservative opposition TOP 09, also agrees with the letter.
“I particularly resent the fact that the students were not allowed to honour the memory of November 17 in Albertov. Due to practical reasons I was unable to sign the letter yesterday. I will do so next week,” Pospisil told CTK.
Ovcacek said the MEPs had thereby tried to score “media points” easily.
“Moreover, the letter is disqualified by MEP Jaromir Stetina, a well-known supporter of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion,” Ovcacek said, hinting at Stetina inviting the commander of the Ukrainian volunteer Azov Battalion, which the U.S. labelled neo-Nazi, to the EP in the summer.
Zeman’s address in Albertov was sharply criticised by Human Rights and Legislation Minister Jiri Dienstbier (senior government Social Democrats (CSSD)) on Wednesday. He said Zeman thereby helped create conditions for the rise of fascism in Czech society.