2006-09-01 Dita Asiedu
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Czech skinheads demand war against Israel

Weapons secured by the police at the demonstrationWeapons secured by the police at the demonstration
Over two dozen Czech neo-Nazis were arrested in Prague this week, after a protest outside the city’s Israeli Embassy. Most of them belonged to a group called National Resistance, who recently asked the Czech President to be allowed to join foreign armed forces to wage war on Israel.

How strong is the neo-Nazi movement in the Czech Republic? Radio Prague’s Dita Asiedu asked expert Miroslav Mares:

“The strongest ultra-right movement in the Czech Republic was in the 1990s. However, at the beginning of the new millennium the Czech Police and the government launched an offensive against that. Now, there is a new phenomenon where people are more active in illegal activities and have bigger experience with the fight against the system.

The National resistance, known as Narodni Odpor (National Resistance), is the most important and biggest neo-Nazi organisation in the Czech Republic. It has cells in various cities. It is oriented to militant demonstrations, neo-Nazi concerts of so-called ‘white power’ music and other militant activities.”

How many people are in this movement?

“I think there are about 500 people but the Czech neo-Nazi movement as a whole is bigger than this. I think that there are about 2,000 to 3,000 people who are active.”

Members of Neo-nazi MovementMembers of Neo-nazi Movement
Czech Television has reported that one of the detained men was a police officer from the Prague 10 district. The police have often been criticised for being too lax or too accepting of neo-Nazis. There have been cases when someone clearly did the Nazi salute and was not detained. Do you agree with this criticism? Would you say that the authorities have not done enough to clamp down on the neo-Nazi movement?

“I do not agree. This man was not a member of the state police but of the city police. I think that the Czech state police are anti-Nazi oriented. Some sympathisers could be police officers, however, who are not in the Czech security bodies.”

How common are clashes between neo-Nazis and foreigners or members of the Jewish community here and what form do they take?

“There are both verbal and physical attacks. There are books and other materials promoting the terrorist fight against ethnic minorities and the ultra-left side of the political spectrum. There are also some paramilitary camps of National Resistance. However, the number of terrorist activities in the Czech Republic has not been significant.”

What kinds of people join the neo-Nazi movement here?

Members of Neo-nazi MovementMembers of Neo-nazi Movement
“They are mainly teenagers and people up to 26 years old but their social backgrounds are quite different. There are people with a university education. However, the majority are people from the working class, people who are unemployed and so on.”

When compared to its neighbouring countries, especially Poland and Slovakia, how strong is the neo-Nazi movement here in the Czech Republic?

“I think the power of the movement is similar. But in Slovakia, the nationalists are stronger. These are people that are Slovak nationalists but do not have the pan-Arian or neo-Nazi orientation. Czech nationalists are also strong but the young neo-Nazi militant sub-culture is stronger in the Czech Republic than in Slovakia.”

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