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Experts: Czech demonstrations confirm radicalisation of society

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Prague, Feb 8 (CTK) – The migration-motivated demonstrations in the Czech Republic on Saturday have confirmed trends towards radicalisation and they reflect the moods in Czech society, experts addressed by CTK on Monday agreed and they did not rule out a further worsening of the situation in the future.

The demonstrations also exposed the rising hatred, aggressiveness and violence among people, the experts said.

The demonstrations in Prague on Saturday ended in several clashes between the opponents and supporters of the refugees. The most serious incident was an attack on the Klinika social centre, which collected clothing for the refugees among other activities.

Unknown attackers allegedly threw Molotov cocktails and cobblestones into a shopwindow of the building.

Miroslav Mares, expert in extremism from Masaryk University in Brno, said firm cores of supporters of different opinions of dealing with the migrant crisis have emerged in the country and violence may further escalate.

“I believe that the Saturday events confirm the trends towards radicalisation and they reflect the existing moods in society,” Mares told CTK.

Lawyer Klara Kalibova said Czech society has been split for some time. She mentioned an attack on a Syrian citizen, who ended up with a stab stomach injury in hospital last week.

“Saturday was an example of what has been going on in society during the past one and a half years,” Kalibova said.

Her institution In Iustitia focuses on hatred or extremism motivated violence.

“Saturday mainly uncovered the rising hatred, aggressiveness and violence among people that are connected not only with the migrant crisis. This is mainly due not only to politicians and some media, but the overall cultural and social developments during the past years,” David Lebeda, chairman of the NGO Imperative, said.

His organisation focuses on prevention and education in connection with hatred and extremism motivated crimes.

The experts differ in their opinions of the causes of the problems and of who is responsible for the current situation.

“I see the main cause in a departure from moral and ethical values,” Lebeda said.

Mares said responsibility rests with both domestic and European political representatives, the media and intellectual elites as well as the European countries’ citizens, including the Czech Republic.

Kalibova put the blame on the media that she said do not carry objective information on the migrant crisis.

Mares said there exists no short-time solution to the situation.

“In the long run, it is necessary to deal with the migrant problems and to more accept the perception of the national and cultural identity of the majority population,” he said.

Lebeda said it is necessary to tackle the issue of economic migrants and improve children’s education.

Unlawful acts connected with extremism and hatred-motivated crimes on both ends of the extremist spectrum should be severely punished, Lebeda said.

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