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The modern-day Palach?

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Jiří Simon has dedicated his life to fighting against the giant shopping centre City Park that was finished last October in the vicinity of Jihlava’s historical centre. The 50-year-old activist hanged himself at one of the centre’s entrances on 1 January in protest against its opening. About 250 people came to commemorate his act on Saturday.

The Jihlava City Park shopping centre has never experienced such a mass of people as this Saturday. At 2pm more than 200 people gathered in front of the centre’s entrance. Thew weren’t here to shop, however, but to say goodbye to Jiří Simon, who has become famous as an opponent of the giant centre.

The farewell with the 50-year-old activist was organized by Marek Řezáč, who works as a bus driver in the town. In his speech to the crowd, he said he would like to continue in the fight initiated by Jiří Simon.

“We will launch a new investigation of the background to the origins of City Park,” Řezáč said. Representatives of organizations fighting against violations of human rights and freedoms have voiced their support for his step.

For example the chairman of the organization Citizens for their rights (Občané za svá práva), Karel Berka, or the famous activist Jiří Šinágl took part in the gathering. The second-mentioned said that he considers Jiří Simon to be a “modern Jan Palach”.

“Those who were involved in his death should end up at court,” Šinágl said.

Son: My dad is a hero to me

Also the actvist’s 22-year old son, Jakub Simon, came to remember his father. He laid flowers to the City Park’s entrance, lit candles and commemorated his father in a short speech.

“Dad did not behave like sheep like some people do. For me, he stays a hero because of his act,” the young man told the online daily Tý

The gathering then moved to the family house where Simon lived alone without any family members. The house was burgled last Wednesday. An unknown burglar stole a personal computer, in which Simon had all his documentation on City Park.

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