Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) chairman Tomio Okamura and interior minister and Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) chairman Jan Hamáček clashed in a pre-election debate on Prima CNN News over migration. In the discussion, all politicians, including other party representatives from the Communist Party (KSČM) and the ANO movement, agreed on anti-immigration policies
However, the half-Japanese, half-Czech Okamura, perhaps more than any other major politician in Czechia, has made immigration central to his party’s message. He criticized the government’s reception of refugees from Afghanistan, according to a news report from Echo24.
“We came up with the topic first and demand zero tolerance for migration and Islam. Others agreed to accept 170 Islamic migrants from Afghanistan. The government should have arranged asylum for them in another Muslim country. When someone says that a man is superior to a woman, I can’t stand it,“ said Okamura.
Interior Minister Jan Hamáček responded to Okamura by saying, “If you say at a meeting with Islamic countries that you are against Islam, they will kick you out the door.” Hamáček also reiterated that he has long been against illegal migration.
“We denied the migration so hard that we sent police officers to Hungary. During my time in office, we gave 1.1 billion korunas (€44.3 million) and helped in Bosnia. We have well-armed police, we have rejected quotas from the beginning,” he said.
Most Czechs have a negative view of immigration, and some polls have found them to be the most opposed to immigration of any nation in Europe.
The V4 states were not wrong
“If there is no other choice and someone illegally infiltrates the Czech Republic, every country and soldier has the right to use a firearm to protect citizens. The Greeks used firearms last year, firing rubber bullets,“ said Okamura, who would like to set up special police units to control the borders. He cited the Hungarian fence or the Turkish-Greek border as a good example of state protection.
Zdeněk Ondráček, a member of the Communist Party, does not oppose violent action against migrants either.
“Ships land people in Italy. What is the problem to let them go out on the high seas and let them sink? Everything is possible, either you can’t do it or you don’t want to. Ships are transporting migrants to Europe, and if we prevent traffic, it will certainly slow down migration,“ the MP said.
The Hungarian fence was evaluated positively not only by Okamura but also by Radek Vondráček, a politician from the ANO movement.
“According to the EU, the fence on the Hungarian border used to be bad, now it is good. This proves to us that we, the V4 states, were not wrong,“ he said.
The whole debate featured a pointed anti-immigration tone that would be completely out of place in other nations such as German, where nearly all the candidates from all major political parties are pushing for more immigration, with the exception of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). According to a survey by the STEM agency for CNN Prima News, the vast majority of Czechs also reject refugees. Most often they are voters of the Free Bloc, the Oaths, the Freedom and Direct Democracy, the Communist Party, and the ANO movement.