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Le Pen and Wilders speak at Czech conference in Prague

Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders attended a conference in Prague on Saturday held under tight security amid protests planned, APF reported.

Published: December 17, 2017, 7:55 am

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    Allied within the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a European Parliament group established two years ago, the parties say they plan to focus on cooperation within Europe outside EU bodies at the conference.

    Le Pen and Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, also met with Lorenzo Fontana from Italy’s Lega Nord or Georg Mayer from the Austrian Freedom Party.

    According to the organiser, the Czech-Japanese entrepreneur Tomio Okamura, Belgium’s Gerolf Annemans, Poland’s Michal Marusik, and Janice Atkinson, a former member of Britain’s UKIP, were invited as speakers.

    Czech police tightened security to keep planned left-wing demonstrators from disrupting the event, including a blockade of the suburban area of Prague where the conference was held. Protest organisers include the No to Racism initiative and Against Hatred, a local group.

    Opponents of the meeting have vowed to protest outside the conference venue, Top Hotel in Chodov, some 15km outside central Prague.

    Wilders faces death threats from Islamists and has to be protected around the clock. Czech police, at the request of their Dutch counterparts, are providing a special security detail for Wilders. His conference speech can be read here.

    The conference takes place two months after the SPD Party [Freedom and Direct Democracy] led by Tokyo-born entrepreneur Okamura scored over ten-percent support in the Czech general election on a staunchly anti-Islam and anti-EU ticket.

    Okamura was backed openly by Le Pen. He attracted electoral support through his slogan “No to Islam, no to terrorism”.

    Okamura has also received backing from Czech President Milos Zeman, a veteran pro-Russian, and anti-Muslim politician, who attended an SPD congress last weekend.

    Zeman, who once called the migrant crisis “an organised invasion” of Europe and Muslims “impossible to integrate”, remains the favourite in the coming January 2018 presidential election.

    The Czech Republic with a population of 10.6 million, which vehemently opposes the EU’s migrant quota system, has received only 12 migrants under the scheme.

    “Okamura has had contact with Le Pen for several years. This is not the first time they have met, so they are using the conference to build an internal rightwing in Europe and are building contacts with extremists,” complained Jan Culik, a lecturer in Czech studies at the University of Glasgow to Al Jazeera.

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