Rise in hate speech tests freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly


The recent influx of refugees into the Czech Republic has been accompanied by a rise in hate speech and support for far-right populist leaders. In June, a leaked recording revealed that the editor-in-chief of Prima TV’s news section had instructed his employees to portray the migration crisis as a threat to security and Islam as the enemy. On 21st August, anti-Muslim leader Martin Konvička staged a fictional Islamic State invasion of Prague. He arrived in the capital's Old Town Square on a camel, followed by a military vehicle with masked men waving black flags closely resembling the ones used by the terrorist group known as the Islamic State. The display was accompanied by dummy gun shots and side performances including the flogging of a woman holding a "refugees welcome" sign and the stoning of another woman with foam balls. The organisers were arrested for scaremongering but were soon released.