A 16-year-old Girl Scout from the Czech Republic made headlines last week after a photo of her heatedly confronting a neo-Nazi at a May Day rally went viral. Since the incident, the Czech Interior Ministry has confirmed that local police have taken measures to protect Lucie Myslikova following the circulation of threats directed at the young student on Facebook. The story comes as just the most recent in a coincidental series of viral photos from around the world depicting young women standing up to right-wing demonstrators, some violent, all many years their senior.
According to a report featured in the Guardian, the confrontation involving the Girl Scout took place amongst a group of 300 other protestors who were also there with the goal of speaking out against the right-wing fringe group represented by 150 neo-Nazis. The rally took place in the Czech Republic’s second largest city, known as Brno.
The now-iconic image depicting the girl staring at the man peacefully but incredulously as he angrily gestured towards her was captured by amateur photographer Vladimir Cicmanec, who spoke with CNN about the incident after his picture went viral. Cicmanec, whose primary line of work lies in computer programming, had been attending the rally as a fellow peaceful protestor alongside the Girl Scout.
The photographer shared details of the girl’s heated exchange with the man, stating that their conversation revolved around “the concept of nations and nation-states, immigration, refugees,” and issue which has quickly become a hotly debated topic all around the world following the controversial Brexit vote as well as the rise of Donald Trump in America. He also proudly offered his own insight on the situation, articulating an appreciation for the symbolic juxtaposition that has made the photograph famous.
“She was standing tall and she’s 16 years old and she stood proud and made some profound arguments.”
In another interview, the outspoken photographer provided further explanation regarding Myslikova’s message of inclusivity, which she had chosen to visually represent via a pro-diversity protest banner she carried throughout the event which read “we will raise your children.”
“(Lucie) tried to explain to him that nationalism makes no sense because we are all people and should not be treated differently based on some arbitrary distinctions.”
He also elaborated as to the overall motives and goals of the protestors being represented in the photo by the Girl Scout, who made their peaceful stance against the aggressive right-wing group in mass on Monday.
“We wanted to show the neo-Nazis that they are not welcome here. This year the counter protest was to make fun of and to troll the Nazis.”
According to Cicmanec, he was prompted to capture the photo after a friend pointed out the Girl Scout’s interaction with the man, which she has since described as a “sharp debate.” The heated conversation did not amount to violence, but its polarized symbolism has many applauding the young girl for her bravery in standing for her movement in the face of aggression.
Many have compared the image to another recent viral picture, which depicted passerby Saffiyah Khan defending a Muslim woman who had been surrounded by angry representatives from the English Defense League (EDL), a far-right group with a history of demonstrations ending in violence. In both images, the young women seem unbothered, unintimidated, and even somewhat humored as they boldly confront a visibly enraged protester nose-to-nose.
The images come as the most recent incarnations of an ongoing trend that has surfaced in recent years in which young women have been captured peacefully confronting aggressive counterforces while engaged in activism. Last summer, an image of anti-police brutality advocate Iesha L. Evans calmly standing in front of multiple riot gear-clad police officers just seconds prior to her own arrest brought the phenomenon to the United States.
[Featured Image by Vladimir Cicmanec/AP Images]