Dozens of Roma and other anti-fascists came to speak out against the racist rhetoric of Okamura and his party. The two camps were separated by the police. Photo by Vojtěch Petrů, DR
With the participation of tens to lower hundreds of people, Tomio Okamura’s SPD movement started a series of demonstrations against government policy and the country’s pro-Western orientation on Soukenné náměstí in the center of Liberec on Wednesday. Politicians of the SPD movement, including chairman Tomio Okamura, MP Jaroslav Foldyna, MEP Ivan David and MP for the Liberec Region Radovan Víchy, experts connected with the anti-system scene and the chairperson of Trikolora Zuzana Majerová spoke at the event.
“The politicians of Fial’s government publicly promised that they do not want to raise taxes, that they do not want to raise the retirement age, they do not want the Green Deal, and they have not even talked about training American soldiers here or directly supporting a warring party that is neither a member of NATO nor the European Union , or about the fact that they want to rob Czech pensioners, families with children and companies. We are literally ruled by a bunch of liars who lied to the citizens, they didn’t even win the elections to the House of Representatives because a million votes were lost. They only got there because they lied in the morning, lied at noon and lied in the evening,” Tomio Okamura beat Peter Fiala’s five-coalition government in the spirit of his appearances in the lower house and on social networks.
Deputy Jaroslav Foldyna called for a general strike and reiterated that the war in Ukraine is a proxy conflict between the US and Russia. MEP Ivan David then spoke about another traditional mobilizing topic of the disinformation scene, the Green Deal for Europe, former chairman of the Agrarian Chamber Zdeněk Jandejsek about the problems of Czech agriculture and last year’s senate candidate of the PRO movement in Mělník, energy engineer Ivan Noveský, spoke about expensive energy prices.
Almost at the end of the event, the only speaker from outside the SPD camp, the chairperson of Trikolora and former member of the ODS, Zuzana Majerová, appeared on stage. She spoke about the Czech Republic’s defense agreement with the USA signed yesterday, expressed concern that President Petr Pavel might question the validity of Beneš’s decrees and, in connection with his recent speech at the Pietà in Terezín, accused him of rewriting Czech history. In conclusion, she confirmed what was already speculated about earlier, that the SPD and Trikolora will continue their cooperation from the September municipal elections and will sign a memorandum on cooperation in all subsequent elections.
Collaboration on the ultra-right
“Every action provokes a reaction and the SPD demonstrations are an initiative corresponding to the activities of Ladislav Vrabel and Jindřich Rajchlo,” comments Aleš Michal, a political scientist and expert on the populist scene from Prague’s Charles University, on Okamur’s action in Liberec. Okamura already held a similar event in March in Ostrava, and plans two more in June in Ústí nad Labem and Mladá Boleslav.
According to Michal, Rajchl and Vrabel are trying to dethrone the SPD as the leader of the nationalist scene. “Through actions of a similar type, Tomio Okamura is trying to strengthen his own legitimacy at a time when his position is threatened by the extra-parliamentary street movement and the anti-progressive campaign declared by the ANO movement,” says the political scientist.
“It is symptomatic that the SPD tries to present itself as the only oppositional alternative and for its communication uses themes resonating with the disinformation media, especially the fight against the defense agreement with the USA or the anti-government narrative. An important innovation is closer cooperation with Trikolora, whose structure was effectively destroyed by Rajchlovo PRO,” adds Michal.
However, a certain groping can also be seen between the SPD and the Reichlovci. At Jindřich Rajchl’s last demonstration in April, SPD MP Jaroslav Foldyna and in a subsequent interview for Czech Radio then an ex-member of the ČSSD indicated that the SPD could cooperate with other nationalistic entities, including Trikolora or PRO. Okamura himself then in an interview for Czech Television he did not rule out cooperation with the PRO movement, however much he seemed to oppose it, stating that, unlike the SPD, Rajchl does not support withdrawal from the European Union.
Roma demonstrators complained about the approach of the police: “We came to democratically express our opinion and the Czech police surrounded us.” Photo by Vojtěch Petrů, DR
“Trikolora has disappeared and the only chance it has to maintain itself is in connection with the SPD — Okamura’s party is in a position where it can keep Trikolora on a very short leash, when its people will not be able to jump out and want important posts,” comments the relationship between the two entities political scientist and expert on political extremes Jan Charvát from Prague’s Charles University.
According to Charvát Okamur, this is what he is most afraid of after his experience with the rebellious MP Lubomír Volný and MEP Hynek Blašek, who first got into the European Parliament thanks to massive ringing and behaved more like a loner there, only to leave the SPD movement completely last year. “He wants to have people who are primarily loyal and not those who tear the party apart. That’s why he doesn’t want Rajchl, because he’s clearly a shark: like Lubomír Volný, but more capable, experienced and smarter,” explains Jan Charvát.
The next year’s elections to the European Parliament offer the nearest opportunity to test the results of cooperation with the nationalist extreme right. Apparently, nationalists and isolationists can strengthen in them pan-European.
“Nazi! Nazi!” the Roma shouted at Okamura
From the beginning, Okamura’s event on Wednesday was tried to be disrupted by several dozen Roma who protested the racist rhetoric of the politicians of the movement, which is leading a rhetorical campaign against alleged “social benefit abusers”. We would work, but go and ask the companies where they don’t want to employ us, the representatives of the Roma community shouted into the megaphone at the beginning.
They tried to drown out the speeches of the speakers with whistles and megaphones, they reacted the loudest to the performances of Tomio Okamura and Jaroslav Foldyna, who tried to argue with them from the stage. Okamura apparently did not know how to deal with the disruptors at first, denying in his speech that he was a racist, saying that he himself faced and continues to face racism because of his Japanese roots.
At other times, however, during calls for calm, he emphasized that the event was being disrupted by “our fellow Roma citizens” and claimed that other Roma had threatened him with violence in the past, and was therefore allegedly assigned police protection. During speeches by SPD politicians, Roma chanted and called out “fascists”, “Nazis” or “racists”, calling on them to “go home” or to let them speak at the demonstration.
A war breaks out between political entrepreneurs
The police officers initially called on them to leave the area and to desist from disrupting the reported meeting of the Okumarowians. When this did not lead to anything, they surrounded the group of demonstrators together with the organizers of Okamura’s demonstration and separated them from the SPD supporters.
From time to time, criticism of the current government coalition was also heard from the crowd of protesters against Okamura. “Babiš is the best, he doesn’t need to steal,” shouted one of the Roma representatives. The fights between each other were mainly of a verbal nature, only when the crowd dispersed, there was a little nudge between some of the participants.
Part of Okamura’s supporters shouted vulgar and sometimes racist words at the anti-fascist protesters present. And in the spirit of Okamura’s previous speech, she urged them to “go to work.”
Source: Deník referendum by denikreferendum.cz.
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