Thursday, 24 April 2014

Hundreds protest against ACTA treaty in Prague

3 February 2012

Prague, Feb 2 (CTK) - Several hundred people gathered in Prague's centre in protest against the Czech signing of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and they marched to the presidential seat at Prague Castle yesterday.

The event was organised by the Czech Pirate Party. Several thousand people said they would participate in the protest, but only some 200 to 400 gathered to listen to the speeches and about 600-1000 of them then marched uphill to the castle with banners saying "Say no to ACTA" and "Hollywood will not write our laws."

One of the reasons of the lower attendance may be that the last few days have been the coldest in the country this winter so far. In Prague, temperatures are at minus 10 degrees Centigrade, which is rather unusual.

"The ACTA agreement attacks civic freedoms in the Czech Republic in a relatively considerable way. We believe that the parliament should not ratify it," Czech Pirate Party deputy head Mikulas Ferjencik told CTK.

Ferjencik said the protesters want Internet to be a free web where citizens themselves would be responsible for possible posting of illegal contents on websites, not the Internet providers or file hosting websites.

He said his party is against spying on people.

A petition against ACTA was circulated among the participants of the protest gathering.

The Czech Republic is among the 22 states that signed the ACTA agreement, anchoring intellectual property protection rules and vowing to combat the spread of illegal copies and fakes of art or clothes, in Tokyo last week.

The agreement needs to be ratified by Czech parliament, which may be a problem as some coalition and opposition MPs have reservations about its certain points and others resolutely oppose its passing.

ACTA also needs to be signed by President Vaclav Klaus. However, Klaus is not at Prague Castle now because he injured his ankle earlier this week.

Due denial-of-service attacks, the website of the Czech government was unaccessible for several hours last week. This week, the website of the Czech parliament was repeatedly not functioning efficiently.

Last night, anti-ACTA "hacktivists" attacked the website of the senior government Civic Democratic Party (ODS), defacing its homepage. The attackers replaced the ODS data with the logo of the Anonymous group and its statement against ACTA.

Tomas Novak, from Macron Software, said the attack on the ODS website is the first action by hackers in the Czech Republic within the anti-ACTA campaign.

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