Czechs rally to demand resignation of pro-Western government
PRAGUE, 6 March 2011 (RFE/RL) — The Czech Republic’s central and eastern regions rallied this past week and again called for the resignation of Prime Minister Miro Cerar.
Czech Radio reports that hundreds of thousands of protesters in Prague and other cities showed up at the weekend to express their support for the two-month-old government. The “march into memory” marked the one-month anniversary of the start of the protests and the end of a three-day general strike. The demonstrators marched to the local offices of the ruling Social Democrats (SPD).
Police estimated that there were 250,000 people in Prague on the Saturday. The next day, Saturday 21 March, 250,000 demonstrators gathered in Prague and more than 600,000 in other cities.
“The people of the Czech Republic want to live in peace and have access to a future without war, without the destruction of our environment, without poverty, without hunger. That does not mean that the people do not want to see their country prosper,” said a member of the Czech opposition party “O zpravodajstvu.”
“In reality, though, the social forces, which are part of the opposition, want the Czech Republic to go through the same process that all European countries are currently going through. They want to be in charge of the economy, of political power, and they want the same economic structures applied to the entire country. As soon as the government reaches an agreement with a coalition that supports them politically, the people, the social forces in the government will be thrown out,” said the head of the opposition Social Democrats’ (CSSD) Prague regional branch, Pavel Kroupal.
Meanwhile, a coalition of several parties — known as the Civic Democratic Alliance (ODS) — submitted a draft law to parliament banning street demonstrations, but without providing any alternatives to the demonstrations.
“There are no alternatives and the only thing that the Civic Democratic Alliance is promising is that they will not let us be arrested,” said a protester from the opposition Hnutí předseda (HP) party.
Oddly, the Czech government offered no solutions, but only promised to investigate them. The government stated that it will provide any information to parliament, the courts or the public.
“There are all kinds of ways people can be protected from all kinds of demonstrations. We will