Mass protests demand end to Czech government
Pavel Mlady a member of the Czech New Anticapitalist Left, reports on the recent wave of protests in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic saw the largest demonstration since the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Around 120,000 people gathered in the centre of Prague after a call by STOP THE GOVERNMENT – a coalition of trade unions, social movements and co called civic initiatives – to demand a stop to neoliberal reforms, austerity, cuts, as well as for an abdication of the government and early elections.
Petr Necas’s right-wing coalition government was elected into power in mid-2010 after a media campaign based on what is now commonly called the Greek lie – a claim by Czech right wing politicians that the country would take a path to state bankruptcy if the Left won the lections.
Instead, Necas’s government implemented severe neoliberal reforms attacking public services, free education, bullying the unemployed, cutting pensions, raising VAT on essential goods while cutting taxes for the rich.
In its mid-term the government saw public debt rising, growing number of personal bankruptcies and soaring homelessness. The government now polls less than 20% support.
The government is riddled with corruption scandals. A minor coalition partner The Public Affairs Party has even been publicly displayed as a business project run by an owner of a private security agency rather than a political party while Necas’s Civic Democrats are widely seen as a political representation of dubious businessmen nicknamed “godfathers”. TOP 09 party is run by a corrupt “best finance minister in the world” Kalousek and aristocratic Schwarzenberg.
The government politicians dismissed the demonstration as a political campaign on behalf of the Left which offers no “budget responsible” alternative. What an arrogant statement in the face of unparalleled demonstration in recent Czech history!
They are determined to put into practice two major policies: a pension reform which is in effect a privatisation of the pension system and „compensation to churches“ which transfers huge amounts of public money into the coffins of the Catholic Church – in the world’s most atheistic country.
Stop The Government campaign in response to the government’s intransigence agreed to step up the pressure. In upcoming weeks hundreds of small protests and activities in the street is to prepare ground for mass strike movement including road blockades and other actions of civil disobedience in mid-June.
The strike, if successful, can have European-wide impact due to Czech Republic’s geographical location in the centre of the continent. Czech strike can also bring to a halt production lines of major car manufactures across Europe.