A new viral photo shows a Czech Girl Scout standing up to a far-right extremist at a recent neo-Nazi rally held in Brno, a city in the Czech Republic. The powerful image of a teenaged scout standing calmly in the face of an older, larger member of a neo-Nazi rally has struck a chord with viewers all over the world, racking up more than 61,000 points on Reddit in the last day alone. The girl’s protest was part of a larger effort by residents of Brno to combat far-right extremism, not with anger or violence, but with music, art, and a celebration of spring.
The photo was taken by Vladimír Čičmanec, who posted it on Facebook on May 1 with the hashtag #brnonehajluje, meaning “Brno does not heil” or “Brno does not salute Nazis.” A Facebook post from the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) subsequently identified the girl in the image as Lucie, a 16-year-old member of Junák -český skaut (Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic). “People from all walks of life, and #Scouts among them, came to the streets during an extreme right march yesterday, to express their support for values of diversity, peace and understanding. Creating a better world!”, WOSM’s post explained. According to Mashable, Lucie’s banner bears a scout motto, “We will raise your children.”
According to Czech news website Romea, May 1 in Brno has become “a scene of neo-Nazi provocation” over a period of years, and previous efforts to protest the neo-Nazi rallies have been confrontational, resulting in numerous arrests. This year, the group Brno Blocks proposed a different way of responding to the rally. In a Facebook post (via Romea), the group asked that people “[o]rganize a creative, entertaining, non-violent 1 May activity in the center of Brno at the time of the march.” Suggested activities included playing music, dancing, giving theatrical performances, and getting creative with clothing and masks. The initiative stated on Facebook,
We want to dedicate our energy and time to more important matters than mobilizing thousands of people because of a couple dozen Nazis. We want to enjoy 1 May, but also draw attention to the fact that today, ultra-right ideas are not just being shouted by groups of people marching through the streets of Brno. Fascist opinions are becoming a dangerous part of mainstream society.
On Facebook, Anička Čámská, who claims to be a scout, discussed the event further. “Whole point of the protest was to enjoy the first day of May, which is also the traditional day to celebrate love and spring,” she wrote. “The message was ‘we are tired of your hate and pessimism.’ I think we, members of the scout movement, can relate to that, no matter our political views.”