Liberec - A huge canvas featuring Russian President Vladimir Putin was unveiled on the seat of the Liberec Town Hall by the Dekomunizace (Decommunisation) civic association with the consent of the city´s leaders this morning.
Občanské sdružení Dekomunizace ve spolupráci s Knihkupectvím a antikvariátem Fryč odhalilo 11. března na průčelí radnice v Liberci obří protestní plachtu s karikaturou ruského prezidenta Vladimira Putina. ČTK Petrášek Radek
The association protests against the steps taken by the strengthening Russian dictatorship in Crimea and spreading in the direction of Europe.
The protest has drawn great interest of the locals. The police have received several criminal complaints.
The canvas is hanging right above a monument to the minimally nine people who died in Liberec when Soviet tanks occupied the country in 1968 to crush the Prague Spring reform movement.
"History repeats and we feel it our duty to alert to this. Yanukovych´s invitation [of Russians to Ukraine] is like the letter of invitation written by [then Czechoslovak communist high-ranking official] Vasil Bilak and similar villains, who called on the Soviet leaders to prevent counter-revolution in this country," Ondrej Matyas, from Dekomunizace, said.
"We are calling on our government and through it on the European Union and NATO to at last start approaching Russia as a state that represents a serious threat to democracy and freedom," he added.
The movement says the Russian aggression in Crimea has clear analogies in the history of Europe. The annexation of the Sudeten and Austria was also preceded by a campaign, in which the Nazis asserted that they must defend Germans on the territory of other states.
That is why Putin´s appearance on the canvas resembles both Stalin and Hitler and symbols typical of communist and fascist ideologies - red star, sickle and hammer and swastika - are added, the association said.
That is probably why someone has turned to the police. Most people perceive the protest positively.
"I knew about the event, I do not consider it a political, but an entirely human act. We express our support to the Ukrainian people who are experiencing difficult times this way. We, too, had periods in our history when we appreciated similar moral and human support," Liberec mayor Martina Rosenbergova (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.
She mentioned the years 1938, 1948 and 1968.
In 1938, the Munich agreement which led to the occupation of the Czech Lands by the Nazis was signed. In 1948, the Communists seized power in then Czechoslovakia.