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Prague 1 City Hall meets Facebook

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Czech politicians will face a massive campaign on the global social network Facebook for the first time. Friends of the Prague club Rock Café objecting to the recent decision of Prague 1 to ban concerts, founded a group called Zachraňte Rock Café (save the Rock Café) on Facebook at the end of last week. The group reached more than 12,500 members in a short time and is gaining hundreds of new supporters every day.

The aim of the group is to renew the music programme at Rock Café and to collect as many signatures as possible for their petition. Some 100 group members and bands attended a press conference that took place in Rock Café on Monday.

“It is a big and fast-growing group in the Czech environment. It has a mediated impact in real politics too since the group and its demands are covered by the media. This might also influence political campaigns – the growing number of members and the increasing average age of the people in the group might help make it increasingly relevant,” said political analyst Miloš Čermák.

The largest Czech Facebook group so far has been the group supporting Jan Kaplický’s design for the national library, which gained 27,000 members, however, it took them much longer.

Prague 1 Mayor Petr Hejma sent a letter to the club owners Michael Pánek and Pavel Svoboda on 9 April, asking them to immediately suspend the music programme. All concerts at Rock Café stopped. The reason was that the club allegedly exceeced the noise limits in the flats located in the same building on Národní třída.

The vast majority of these flats, however, were constructed during the reconstruction of former language school rooms at a time when the club had been in operation for a number of years. These flats were approved by the previous Prague 1 representatives. One year and a half ago, Arwen company soundproofed the club. Prague 1 City Hall paid CZK 6 million. According to Pánek, the work proved faulty causing vibrations to travel through the house structure. “Fixing it would cost CZK 2 million-3 million,” Pánek said.

It is unclear whether Prague 1 claimed the faulty work – Alexandr Koráb, Prague 1 spokesman was not available on his phone. According to the club owners, no repairs have been done at Rock Café in a year.

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