Prague, April 2 (CTK) – Over 4000 opponents of abortion participated in the National March for Life in the centre of Prague on Saturday, the organisers have said.

The police have not released their estimates of the attendance for tactical reasons.

The march has been staged for the 16th time in a row.

Some 21,000 abortions were carried out in the Czech Republic with a population of 10.5 million last year. Their number has been decreasing year-by-year since the 1990s.

“The main aim of the march remains the same as in the past years – there are women in the Czech Republic who are lonely and caught unawares by their pregnancy, they do not find sufficient support in their families and from their partners,” Zdenka Rybova, deputy chairwoman of the Movement for Life organising the march, told CTK.

People of all age groups, including many children, took part in the march. Nuns and priests were also in the crowd.

The activists carried Czech flags and the flags of the organiser as well as banners with anti-abortion slogans and dozens of symbolic white crosses.

The march started on the left bank of the Vltava River in Klarov and passed Charles Bridge and the National Theatre on the right bank where the participants met some opponents carrying banners with pro-choice slogans, such as “My Body, My Choice.”

The event culminated on Wenceslas Square, below the statue of St Wenceslas, the Czech patron saint.

Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka, primate of the Czech Catholic Church, and Plzen Bishop Frantisek Radkovsky gave short speeches on the square in which they rejected abortion and appreciated parents raising their children.

“Our nation and Europe are dying out and other nations can replace us. It seems that we are committing a national suicide,” Radkovsky said in his speech.

Out of the government members, Deputy PM and Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek took part in the march.