Far-right group forms 'National Guards'
Quasi-military organisations called the National Guards were established by the far-right National Party on the 28th October, the anniversary of independent Czechoslovakia. The move did not receive much attention in the Czech Republic at first, although Slovakia's President Ivan Gasparovic was quick to warn the Czech authorities of the danger of indifference. Meanwhile, top Czech politicians have condemned the idea of National Guards.
"There were three reasons: first, the abolishment by the Defence Ministry of their emergency battalions that were meant to respond to emergencies. As you know, Defence Minister Parkanova abolished them. Another reason is the almost total destruction of the Police of the Czech Republic. In small communities, the police can't even hold their offices. The third reason is the increasing wave of violence committed by unadaptable citizens" [code word for Romanies].
Political scientist Miroslav Mares from Masaryk University in Brno, who specializes in Czech far-right extremism, says that the National Guard, which is to take public oath in a year's time, on the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia, does represent a new strategy by far-right activists in the Czech Republic.
"The creation of something like a national guard is not a new idea; it was featured in the programme of the National Party before the elections in 2006. I think however that the establishment of some stable organisation with consistent activities, this is something new. This is a new element in the history of the Czech far right."
A similar group was established in Hungary at the end of August and received much attention after several hundred of its members took a public oath in Budapest. The parallel between the two movements prompted Slovak President Ivan Gasparovic on Saturday to warn the Czechs not to underestimate such nationalist movements. Marek Trubac is the spokesman for the Slovak President.
"According to President G., it would be very bad if the newly formed Czech National Guard followed the model of the Hungarian guards; official Czech institutions cannot, in the president's view, accept the founding of these organisations without adequately reacting to it."