(photo credit: AP)
Czech President Vaclav Klaus urged Czech authorities on Wednesday to ban a neo-Nazi march scheduled to take place in Prague next month to mark the 69th anniversary of Kristallnacht.
"The president of the republic calls on all responsible authorities not to allow this politically and morally unacceptable event that dishonors the memory of the victims of the Nazi crimes," Klaus wrote in a letter to the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had urged him to ban the event.
Klaus said he was "seriously worried and alarmed" by the attempts of some extremist political groups to organize the march through Prague's historic Jewish quarter. "This march cannot be tolerated under the pretense of freedom of speech and assembly," he wrote.
The controversial event is slated to take place on November 10. On November 9-10, 1938, 90 Jews were murdered, hundreds of synagogues and Jewish homes were burned down, and tens of thousands of Jews were deported to concentration camps.
A Prague city hall ban on the Neo-Nazi march was subsequently revoked by a municipal court on grounds of "civic rights," the Wiesenthal Center said.
Four years ago, authorities issued a last-minute ban of the same march after criticism from Jewish groups in the Czech Republic and around the world; Prague officials have pledged to do all they can to find legal ways to ban this year's version, which is being organized by a local neo-Nazi group.