Europe’s leading anti-immigration parties gathered in Prague at the weekend for a conference aimed at coordinating their policies and rallying anti-EU, anti-immigration forces on the continent. On their way into the heavily fortified hotel on the outskirts of Prague they were booed by hundreds of demonstrators chanting “shame” and “NO to fascism, populism and xenophobia”.
Hundreds of officers were out in force to maintain order as Marine Le Pen of France, Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and the heavily guarded Dutch politician Geert Wilders made their way into the hotel. Some were quickly smuggled in, but as demonstrators gradually blocked all access roads to the hotel, others, such as Janice Atkinson an independent MEP and former member of Britain’s UKIP were forced to face the insults and make their way through the angry thong on foot.
“These people should just be arrested and taken away so that we can go through and carry on with democracy.“
Inside the conference hall party leaders criticized the European Union and its policy of mass migration. Geert Wilders congratulated the Czech Republic on resisting the tide and said he hoped the country would keep its doors closed to migrants. However he warned that the big picture in Europe gave serious cause for concern. “In 30 or 50 years’ time, the Czech Republic will be surrounded by countries where 20 percent of the population will be Muslim.” Mr. Wilders said. “That is as if the Czech Republic became a Gaza Strip. We need to prevent mass migration even if it means building a wall.”
Marine Le Pen echoed these sentiments, laying the blame for the migrant crisis squarely at the door of the European Union. The EU, she said, is a disastrous organization leading the Old Continent to destruction.
The host of the conference, the leader of the Party of Freedom and Direct Democracy Tomio Okamura, basked in the show of unity. He spoke of the need to work for a Europe that would respect national identity, sovereignty and independence.
“All that we want to maintain of the European Union is free movement of people, goods, capital and services.”
The party of Freedom and Direct Democracy emerged as a strong force in October’s parliamentary elections, placing third with close to 11 percent of the vote, but despite its stated desire to be in government, it has been shunned as a possible coalition partner by the winning ANO party.
This fate is shared by similar-minded parties elsewhere in Europe –with the exception of Austria – a fact that Geert Wilders lamented in his address.
"As you know we became the second biggest party in the Netherlands and we are not allowed to negotiate, let alone to govern. The FPO is doing that today –let that be an example for al the political elite."
Although the gathering of anti-migrant parties was booed by hundreds of protesters in Prague, the majority of Czechs do not want mass migration in the country. According to the latest poll on the subject four fifth of Czechs are against accepting migrants from Muslim countries even if it were to mean losing EU funds. The fact that this policy line is upheld by practically all parliamentary parties, including the traditional parties, is the only reason why the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party has not drummed up even more support.