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Czech churches pan ‘tasteless’ use of yellow Star of David at anti-vax protest

Responding to rally in opposition of inoculations and in support of Trump, Christian faith leaders say fringe activists abused symbol of Jewish persecution by Nazis

A demonstrator dressed in a costume of prisoner holds a banner reading the word 'Untermensch' (sub-human) referring to a Nazi term attends the protest against COVID-19 government measures on January 10, 2021, in the old Town Square in Prague. (Michal Cizek / AFP)
A demonstrator dressed in a costume of prisoner holds a banner reading the word 'Untermensch' (sub-human) referring to a Nazi term attends the protest against COVID-19 government measures on January 10, 2021, in the old Town Square in Prague. (Michal Cizek / AFP)

PRAGUE — Czech churches on Monday denounced what they said was the cynicism of anti-vaccine protesters who wore the Star of David inscribed with “unvaxxed” at a rally last week.

The activists were abusing a symbol of Nazi persecution of the Jews during World War II, church leaders argued.

Officials from the Czech Bishops’ Conference, the Ecumenical Council of Churches and the Federation of Jewish Communities condemned their action in a joint statement.

The rally, in central Prague last Friday, targeted the Czech government’s anti-Covid restrictions and supported outgoing US President Donald Trump.

Some protesters wore yellow Stars of David pinned to their coats in protest against the coronavirus vaccination campaign that launched just after Christmas.

The protesters believe the vaccines are unsafe.

A man with a Nazi-like Star of David reading ‘untested ‘ takes part in a protest against Czech government and to support the outgoing US president from Prague, Czech Republic, January 8, 2021. (Michal Cizek / AFP)

“It is with considerable anxiety that we witnessed the abuse of the yellow Star of David by anti-vaccination protesters,” said the joint statement from church leaders.

“If someone usurps this symbol to stand level with six million people murdered in concentration and extermination camps, we cannot see it as anything but tasteless and cagey cynicism,” they added.

The churches called on the protesters to offer a public apology.

The Seznam Zpravy news site reported Monday that a protester wearing the star had lost her job at the Liberec city hall in the north of the country after trying to explain her motivation on Facebook.

Friday’s rally was followed by a much larger protest against government restrictions and the vaccine in Prague on Sunday, attended by some 3,000 people.

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