Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Some 14,000 people sign petition against Communist in high post

7 March 2018

Prague, March 6 (CTK) - Some 14,000 signed a petition against the election of Communist (KSCM) MP Zdenek Ondracek as head of the Czech Chamber of Deputies' commission for the General Inspection of Security Corps (GIBS) during protests all over the country on Monday, organiser Lucie Kohoutova told CTK on Tuesday.

A half of the signatures were collected at a rally in the centre of Prague that was attended by about 20,000 people, Kohoutova said.

The police refused to comment on the number of participants in the rally.

Ondracek was elected the head of the commission supervising the GIBS, which investigates suspected crimes of the police, customs and prison officers, last Friday after two unsuccessful attempts.

His nomination for the post and election have raised a controversy due to his past of a police officer under the Communist regime and a member of the riot police unit who took part in a crackdown on anti-Communist demonstrators.

Ondracek did not express regret at being a police officer under the previous regime and he said last week he would not change any of the decisions he made as a policeman.

People in Prague, Brno, the second largest town in the Czech Republic, most other regional capitals as well as other towns demonstrated against Ondracek's election as the lower house's commission head on Monday.

In large towns, thousands of people protested against Ondracek, while in the fairly small ones, dozens up to hundreds of people took part in the demonstrations.

The organisers estimate the total number of protesters in the country at more than 30,000, some 20,000 of whom met on Wenceslas Square in the centre of Prague alone.

The protesters in Prague carried banners targeting both Ondracek and Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO). Some banners said "We Do Not Want Any StB Agents in the Government," alluding to Babis's registration as an agent of the Communist StB secret police, which he denies. The protesters also chanted "No Commies," "We Are Fed Up With This" and "Shame on the Government," waving Czech and EU flags.

They were also signing a petition for the election of a new GIBS commission chairperson.

Following the protests, Zdenek Ondracek yesterday resigned from the post of chairman of a parliamentary commission supervising the police inspection authority GIBS.

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