Czechs to campaign against Neo Nazis


This week saw the launch of a new campaign aimed at raising awareness of right-wing extremism and neo-Nazism in the Czech Republic. The scheme is organised by the Czech NGO People in Need along with other groups. Their campaign is titled - "Who wants a Neo Nazi?"

Photo: Stepanka Budkova
In the course of the past year the problem of right-wing extremism in the Czech Republic has come very much to the fore, with numerous rallies and marches taking place in Prague and Brno. For instance a Neo-Nazi gathering in Prague held on the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom on Jews on November 10th, and another rally held in Brno last May were the largest of the sort in five years. The authorities had no legal means to prevent them from taking place although the police were out in force to maintain law and order. Ilona Labutova from People in Need, says it is high time for a campaign against this phenomenon in the Czech Republic:

Television and cinema adverts, as well as a song launched this week, will use a twist of dark humour to get the message across. The message itself, however, is serious and is aimed at making the wider community aware of the dangers of tolerating or even becoming involved in Neo Nazi activities. Ilona Labutova explains who the campaign is trying to target and why:

"There are two sides to this project. The first step is an educational program aimed at people aged between 15 and 25, and to some extent also suitable for primary schools. And the second part is the campaign starting today which targets the whole public. We will show two film clips about Neo Nazism and extremism on TV and in the cinema. We will present one song, written by Jan Budar, a well known songwriter in the Czech Republic, and we will also show the video which has been made for this as well."

Seminars held in schools will be used to stimulate discussion and understanding of the problem. And the campaign, which will last all year, aims to spread the message that everyone has a responsibility to prevent right-wing extremism taking hold. As well as the main advertising drive, there are also other one-off events planned. One such event coming up, combining live music from diverse European acts with political debate and discussion will take place at Prague’s Roxy club, a popular music venue, later this month. Ilona Labutova from People in Need once more:

"It's a big 'happening' which will start on the 24th of April in Roxy- it will be a big concert, a very multicultural event. But it will not be just the concert, there will be events held all day in Roxy, for instance in NoD, which is the upstairs space of the club, where there will be a discussion with politicians about related legislation and about how the situation may be changed. There will be a lot of experts on these issues and discussions with young people. We will show these film clips there as well."