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Czechs worried by increase in neo-Nazi meetings

DPA, via Ha'aretz, Germany
Aper. 10, 2005 • Tuesday April 12, 2005

PRAGUE – Around 150 right-wing extremists, including some from Germany and Slovakia, gathered for a meeting in a restaurant in the Czech city of Brno, it was reported yesterday.

According to an independent monitoring organization, police did not intervene owing to the “private character” of the meeting, which occurred Saturday night.

During the gathering, which included a concert, anti-Semitic propaganda was reportedly read aloud. Police, however, said there was no evidence that laws were broken.

Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda expressed concern about the increasing number of international meetings of right-wing extremists, especially in regions of the country bordering Germany.

“I hope and wish that the Czech Republic does not become a melting pot for neo-Nazis,” Svoboda said in Prague.

In late March, around 400 mostly German skinheads met in Jablonne v Podjestedi at an event just across the border from the German state of Thuringia. A police spokesman at the time said the gathering had produced no reason for the about 100 police on hand to take any action.

Svoboda ruled out the possibility of solving the problem of the gatherings through discussions with the extremists, saying: “With such people, dialogue is not possible.”

The Czech minister termed as “dangerous” the success of the far-right German National Party (NPD) in the German state of Saxony. “All democrats should consider this and not blame only the political parties,” he said. “It is up to the citizens whether they want to vote for such parties as the NPD.”

Regarding the recent acquittal by a Prague court of a publisher of a Czech edition of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” Svoboda said he was not fundamentally against the publication of the Nazi manifesto.

“It can be a warning when similar opinions, for example, appear today on the Internet,” he said. “As a condition for publication, there must be an accompanying scientific text in which a historian describes the atrocities that followed this book,” said Svoboda.

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