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Former dissident ends hunger strike in protest against Zeman

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Olomouc, North Moravia, Nov 20 (CTK) – Former dissident and post-Communist interior minister Tomas Hradilek, 72, has ended his hunger strike against President Milos Zeman’s bid for re-election after 17 days under pressure of his family, his daughter Simona Hradilkova has told CTK.

Hradilek is now in care of doctors and started taking food gradually, Hradilkova said on Sunday.

Hundreds of people, including famous personalities, from all over the country called on Hradilek to end his protest.

His family said in a statement sent to CTK that they had decided to take responsibility for his life in their hands.

“We cannot be watching the death of our father. We are doing so with the awareness that we act at variance with his wish and resoluteness, but we believe he would do the same in the opposite situation. We have managed to make him give himself in charge of doctors by means we do not intend to explain, and he gradually started taking food,” his children write in their statement.

Hradilkova said the family had discouraged him from the protest hunger strike since the beginning.

“He was really determined to hold on till the very end, but he did not expect such an immense pressure from our side. No sacrifice like this is needed in the present times,” Hradilkova told CTK.

Hradilek went on hunger strike on November 1 in protest against Zeman’s repeated candidacy for president. In an open letter to Zeman, he wrote that Zeman had deeply disappointed him as head of state by giving up the effort to cultivate and unite Czech society. He called on Zeman to withdraw his candidacy.

Hradilek was confronted with Zeman during his presidential tour of the Olomouc Region last week when Zeman told him at a meeting with citizens in Lipnik nad Becvou that his presidential bid was supported by 113,000 people and this is why he would keep seeking re-election.

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