Czech PM on 17 November: A democratic state must have a strong social welfare dimension
Yesterday morning people began bringing candles and flowers to the memorial to 17 November 1989 on Národní třída in Prague. Some of the first to arrive were Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the chair of the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, head of the ANO movement, and the chair of the Senate, Milan Štěch (ČSSD).
"It is important that we tend to our democracy and freedom, that we solicit support for both, which is not always easy," Sobotka told journalists. He went on to say that he believes many people are not well off in the country and are therefore upset with the democratic order.
If support for democracy and freedom are to be maintained, the PM believes it is important for a democratic state to have a strong social welfare dimension. He was also accompanied by Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek, Czech Trade and Industry Minister Jan Mládek, and the vice-chair of the ČSSD, Martin Starec.
Sobotka said that in his assessment, the democratic system has not yet met all of the expectations of November 1989. "Despite that, I believe it was the correct decision," he added.
Babiš called democracy and freedom the very highest values. "I do not believe freedom and democracy have been endangered, as some are attempting to convince people of so they can create a bad mood here," he told the press.
The Finance Minister emphasized that people are able to vote for their representatives in Parliament, as well as for the President. "We should mainly be fighting for a good mood, society should come together," he said.
Babiš also said he does not believe the present moment is one where people have to demonstrate on the public square in order to change the Government or the President. He was accompanied by Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický, Czech Justice Minister Robert Pelikán, Czech Regional Development Minister Karla Šlechtová and Mayor of Prague Adriana Krnáčová.
A man also stood near the memorial holding a sign against today's politicians. The sign read that he was "disgusted" by politicians, including the President, and by "his lapdog, press spokesperson Ovčáček".
On 17 November 1989, what were then the communist regime's police forces intervened against a student march on Národní třída. The incident started what is usually referred to as the Velvet Revolution, which resulted in the fall of state socialism in what was then Czechoslovakia.
- Czech Republic: Hundreds protest the President's politics
- Czech Republic: Dozens of events on 17 November in Prague - including ultra-right ones
- In echo of totalitarian past, 60 Czech MPs want anybody "defaming" the President to serve a year in prison
- Commentary: Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day in the Czech Republic after still-unexplained death of Romani man
- Dozens of Roma protest in front of restaurant in Czech town after food server allegedly assaults a Romani woman, police are investigating
- Assembly against discrimination and racism in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic attended mostly by Romani people
- Kosovo: Demonstrators call for investigation into the death of Stanislav Tomáš, who died in police custody in Teplice
- Roma Lives Matter demo in Czech capital hears eyewitness testimony that Stanislav Tomáš was carried motionless on a stretcher into the ambulance
- European capitals see unprecedented wave of solidarity with Czech Roma and protests over the death of Stanislav Tomáš
- Czech capital to see demonstration for Stanislav Tomáš today expressing disagreement with police intervention and support for local community
- Czech churches condemn those wearing yellow Stars of David at anti-vaxxer events, call on them to apologize
- Czech Federation of Jewish Communities: Yellow Star of David at Prague demonstration is textbook abuse and relativization of a Holocaust symbol
- Czech capital sees demonstration in support of Trump and against COVID-19 pandemic suppression measures by the same extremists who march against the Roma
- COMMENTARY: Trump's bucket of filth
- German Government Commissioner on Antisemitism: COVID-19 denial now a pretext for Holocaust revisionism
- Czech protest against COVID-19 response brings together the far-right, those against the PM, those against the opposition, xenophobes - and punks