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Czech President Defends Deputy Over Gay Remarks

PRAGUE -- Czech President Vaclav Klaus has defended his deputy chancellor who criticized the mayor of Prague for supporting a gay pride parade in the capital.

Petr Hajek said in an interview the event is "a political demonstration ... of a world in which sexual or any other deviation becomes virtue." He also called on Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda to leave the ruling conservative Civic Democratic Party.

His words have been condemned by many politicians, and the major opposition Social Democrats as well as the junior ruling coalition party, the Public Affairs party, said Hajek should apologize.

But Klaus refused to distance himself from Hajek's words and said he was not "proud" of the event. The Aug. 13 parade is part of the first Prague gay pride festival that begins Wednesday.