Saturday, April 21, 2012

News 4.21.2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Radio Prague (Cesky Rozhlas 7 - Radio Praha)

News Saturday, April 21st, 2012

By: Daniela Lazarova

* An estimated 100,000 people joined an anti-government protest march
though the centre of Prague on Saturday.

* Opposition leader Bohuslav Sobotka has called for early elections.

* Prime Minister Petr Necas has accused the opposition of hijacking the
protest for their own political ends.

* Trade union leaders have welcome the massive show of public support
and promised further actions if the government does not fall as a
result of its present crisis.

* Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake has defended the cabinet's
reforms calling for a responsible stance from the public.

Massive turn out for anti-government protest

An estimated 100,000 people joined an anti-government protest march
though the centre of Prague on Saturday. The massive show of discontent
with the government's reforms was organized by the country's umbrella
trade union organization which is demanding the resignation of the
centre-right cabinet of Prime Minister Petr Necas. Trade unions have
accused the government of impoverishing the weakest groups of the
population with what they call unnecessarily harsh austerity measures,
particularly seniors, handicapped and chronically ill people and
families with children. Representatives from the opposition Social
Democrats and Communist Party joined the march in a show of solidarity.

Opposition leader calls for early elections

The leader of the Social Democrats Bohuslav Sobotka said that tension
in the society had come close to breaking point and the show of public
discontent was now such that the government could not continue to
ignore it. The Social Democrat leader said that in view of the
circumstances and the crippling government crisis the only clean
solution would be to hold early elections in June.

Prime minister slams opposition for misusing protest

Prime Minister Petr Necas said he fully respected people's right to
voice their opinion but objected to the fact that the opposition
parties had hijacked the protest to suit their own political interests.
The prime minister said that in the country's best interest the
government would continue to follow a policy of fiscal responsibility.
He said that what the opposition parties and trade unions had
demonstrated on Saturday was sheer populism and said they had no viable
alternative to offer to the government proposed reforms.

Trade union leaders welcome massive turnout, promise further actions

Trade Union leader Miroslav Zavadil said he was surprised and pleased
by the strength of public support for the anti-government
demonstration. He put the number of protesters at 120,000 saying it was
the biggest anti-government protest since the fall of communism in
1989. Trade unions are considering further action if the government
does not fall next week due to having lost its majority in the lower
house. Bohumir Dufek, chairman of the Czech Association of Independent
Trade said that if the government managed to muster enough support from
independent deputies he would try to rally support for a general strike.

Peake calls for "responsible stance"

Deputy Prime Minister Karolina Peake, who triggered the latest
government crisis by defecting from the junior coalition Party Public
Affairs and establishing a break-away faction with which she hopes to
continue to support the centre-right government, said early elections
would not be a good solution to the present crisis. Mrs Peake said it
was important to press ahead with reforms in the interest of young
people and the country's future. She noted that it was not just the
Czech Republic but all of Europe which was going through bad times and
appealed on the public to take a responsible stance to the country's

Coalition leaders to discuss government's future on Sunday

The leaders of the embattled coalition government are to meet on Sunday
to debate the crisis precipitated by the split of the junior coalition
party Public Affairs. The party's split into two factions - one around
its founder and informal leader Vit Barta and the other around Deputy
Prime Minister Karolina Peake - has robbed the government of its
majority in the lower house and put into question its future existence.
The Civic Democrats and TOP 09 no longer want to rule with the
scandal-tainted faction around Vit Barta and Deputy Prime Minister
Peake may not rally enough supporters behind her to establish a
deputies' club and secure a "safe" majority for the government.

Police in Breclav gearing up for ultra-right march

Police are gearing up for a march of ultra-right supporters in the town
of Breclav on Sunday, where the youth branch of the National Workers
Party for Social Justice aids to demonstrate its solidarity with a
15-year-old youth who was brutally attacked by three allegedly Roma
youths. The victim had to have one of his kidneys removed after the
attack suffered liver damage as well. He remains in serious condition.
The incident has heightened racial tension in the town and police are
expected to be out in force for the event aiming to prevent skirmishes
and keep the march away from Roma dwellings. An initiative against race
hate has also called a demonstration on the same day.


Sunday is expected to be overcast and rainy across most of the country
with day temperatures between 11 and 15 degrees Celsius.

Articles posted on today
Kitsch wins through: pop music in Czechoslovakia after 1968

The 1960s had seen a thriving musical scene in Czechoslovakia, which
had been broadly tolerated by the regime, especially during the 1968
Prague Spring. With the political clampdown of the early 70s, rock and
pop music were also to suffer. But this was a gradual process, and,
initially at least, the communist authorities were careful not to go
too far to alienate young people.
Luciela Taschen - a new leather bag brand with a brand-new showroom

It was some six years ago that Lucia Jamrichova started making crochet
net bags - they became a huge success and soon, her brand Luciela
Taschen was featured in magazines and newspapers. Now, Lucia has
decided to take her passion for designing hand bags one step further.
Her new designs are made from quality leather - and can be touched,
smelled and purchased at her showroom on Letna's Veverkova street. That
is where I recently met her to talk about bags, her love for crafts and
fashion and what it feels like to be sitting in front of one's newly
opened showroom.
Prague museum explores Journeys of Antonin Dvorak

Prague's Antonin Dvorak Museum recently reopened after renovation with
a new programme dedicated to the life and work of the famous composer.
Entitled The journeys of Antonin Dvorak, it offers a new look at the
composer's stays abroad. It also features an exhibition on Dvorak's
Czech-American friend and collaborator, Josef Jan Kovarik, who worked
with Dvorak during his stay in New York.

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