Saturday, 19 April 2014

Protesters oppose Communists in regional gov't

16 January 2013

Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, Jan 15 (CTK) - A crowd of about 100 yesterday attended a rally against the presence of Czech Communists in regional governments within a series of protests staged by the Without Communists group in a number of towns this week.

The protests were started in Olomouc, north Moravia, on January 14 and will continue in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, Ceske Budejovice, south Bohemia, and Zlin, south Moravia, and they will culminate on Wenceslas Square in Prague's centre on January 19.

The rallies are symbolically held at the time of the Palach Week, commemorating the 44th anniversary of student Jan Palach's self-immolation to protest against the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia.

"The time has come to show that we are not afraid," organiser Radim Holecek (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) said.

Holecek criticised the Communists' growing influence at the head of the regional capital in Usti nad Labem. In it, the Social Democrats (CSSD) rely on the support of the conservative TOP 09 and Communists.

At the end of last December, Holecek staged a similar anti-Communist protest. One day later, he and some more officials were dismissed from the town commission in which they worked.

"I do not want to live to see the time when someone decides on my job if I speak here and voice my democratic view and that will cost me my job," said Holecek, a teacher at UJEP University in Usti.

The chain demonstrations are coordinated by Petr Marek, who attended that in Usti nad Labem.

"The biggest mistake of the postcommunist development was that there was no settling of accounts with the Communist past," Marek said, adding that a number of Communist crimes have never been punished.

Marek said current Communists had never rejected their totalitarian predecessors.

Since the October 2012 regional elections, the opposition Social Democrats and Communists have been ruling in most of the 13 Czech regions.

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