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
The far-right National Party bases its political agenda on the defence of
Czech national interests. Last year, they erected a monument to Czech
patriots - victims of WWII - at the site of the former Roma concentration
camp in Lety, central Bohemia, and on the anniversary of Czechoslovak
independence last month, they established an organisation called the
National Guards whose unarmed members are to follow military discipline and
undergo military training. Pavel Sedlacek is the spokesman for the National
"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."
Czech Interior Minister Ivan Langer was quick to promise on Monday that
Czech authorities will keep a close eye on the National Guard, and that the
police will make sure Czech laws are observed under all circumstances.
Meanwhile, political scientist Miroslav Mares says that this strategy on
the part of the National Party could prove successful and eventually gain
the far right group more supporters.
"In the long-term perspective, the National Party does have some
potential of winning parliamentary representation. On the other hand, Czech
far right is traditionally weak; it's a tradition from the First Republic
in the interwar period. In 1990s, the Republican Party of Miroslav Sladek
was represented in the Parliament but since 1998, Czech far right have not
had any MPs. But the National Party is the strongest party within the Czech
Moreover, Czech President Vaclav Klaus together with Prime Minister Mirek
Topolanek said on Tuesday, after the session of the national security
council, that the establishment of such quasi-military units is
unacceptable in a democratic country.