Prague, Czech Republic – Czech President Milos Zeman called the “Black Lives Matter” slogan “racist”, during his visit at the US ambassador’s residence in Prague, ahead of the United States’ Independence Day.
“I say that the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ is a racist slogan because all lives matter,” Zeman said in a speech, in which he compared the movement’s leadership to the ever-watchful eyes of “Big Brother” keeping tabs on citizens’ behaviour.
“We need free thinking, we need common sense,” he said. “I do not need any new Big Brother,” he added, a reference to George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984”. Zeman also denounced “the riots on the streets, the burning of the cars, destroying of statues in both countries”.
While the Black Lives Matter movement has been regarded as largely peaceful, protesters have on occasion targeted statues in the United States and Europe that depict historical figures deemed “racist”.
In the Czech Republic, protesters defaced a statue of Winston Churchill, writing the words “Racist” and “Black Lives Matter” on the monument. Hundreds of peaceful protesters also laid down across Prague’s Old Town Square for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time George Floyd was pinned to the ground until he died in police custody.
Last week, Polish President Andrzej Duda began his trip to Washington by visiting the monument of Tadeusz Kościuszko, which was defaced during the nation-wide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.
Poland’s ambassador to Washington Piotr Wilczek had earlier said he was “disgusted and appalled” by the “acts of vandalism” committed against the statues of Tadeusz Kościuszko and Casimir Pulaski in the United States’ capital, after the statues of the two Polish national heroes were defaced as demonstrations and riots continued across the country.
Two weeks days ago, the European Parliament strongly backed the Black Lives Matter campaign and urged EU countries to embrace its aims and to denounce “the disproportionate use of force and racist tendencies in law enforcement”. Adopted by 493 to 104 votes, the symbolic resolution also rebuked US President Donald Trump for his “inflammatory rhetoric” and for threatening to deploy the army against protesters.
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