Nazi flag waved at Pilsen Liberation Festival sparks outcry

Police have identified two people behind the offence, which took place during a military convoy that celebrated Czechia's freedom from Nazi occupiers. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 06.05.2024 12:36:00 (updated on 06.05.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Police have identified two Czech citizens who waved a swastika flag – the Nazi symbol – at the Freedom Convoy in Pilsen over the weekend. Footage was uploaded online of a person waving a swastika flag while sitting in a parading World War II jeep in the city center. A child is also seen sitting next to the person waving the flag.

According to Pilsen police spokeswoman Michaela Raindlová, the suspects violated the law by expressing sympathy for a movement aimed at suppressing the rights and freedoms of citizens. Although the people yielding the flag have been identified, police have not yet charged them.

Pilsen Mayor Roman Zarzycký strongly condemned the incident and assured that it is being investigated by the police. "Such behavior is completely unacceptable and should be strongly denounced. I believe that the perpetrators will be punished according to the applicable legislation," he said.

The suspects were not members of traditional military clubs but individual participants joining the convoy. "They are jeepers; they have nothing to do with us," stated Pavel Rogl, commander of the Military History Club of the 16th Armored Division, one of the main organizers of the convoy. A maximum of 300 vehicles can register for the event – this includes both military clubs and private owners of historical World War II vehicles.

Rogl told Czech media outlet CNN Prima News that the man who was behind the flag-waving “rushed into the convoy” without telling anyone. “We are all unhappy about it..he damaged us all [other convoy participants],” Rogl said. No details have as of yet been announced on whether sign-ups for the convoy will change for 2025, which will be the 80-year anniversary of Czechia’s World War II liberation.

The annual convoy, with more than 300 military historical American vehicles, passed through Pilsen over the weekend as part of Czechia celebrating its liberation from Nazi Germany; the Pilsen Liberation Festival. Around 20 jeeps carried the descendants of American and Belgian veterans who liberated the city in May 1945. 

Police have confirmed they are in contact with the people who had occupied the jeep and will announce details of their investigation soon. 

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