The south Bohemian city of České Budějovice was racked by more racial unrest on Saturday. Police were out in force across the city, fencing off a a demonstration of some 400 far-right protesters from a Roma gathering at the Maj housing community.Despite numerous skirmishes between police and far-right protesters no serious injuries have been reported. Special security measures remain in place and citizens have been asked to keep off the streets.
Masses were held around the country on Saturday commemorating the legacy of the 15th century reformer priest Jan Hus who was burned at the stake on July 6, 1415. Jan Hus (John Huss) was a Catholic priest and rector of the University of Prague who was strongly influenced by the teachings of the English reformer priest John Wycliffe. He translated Wycliffe’s works into Czech and proposed to reform the church in Bohemia just as Wycliffe had in England. Hus was excommunicated by the Catholic Church in 1411 before being condemned as a heretic and executed in Constance four years later.
Some 100 people gathered on Prague’s Old Town Square on Saturday to highlight Jan Hus’ legacy and protest against the law on church restitutions. In a letter to Pope Francis they ask the head of the Catholic Church, which is to receive 134 billion crowns worth of land and property, to refuse to accept it. The petition has been signed by several hundred people who hope that Pope Francis, as a modest man and a staunch defender of the poor, will hear their plea.
Traffic has been fully renewed along a 20 km stretch of the D1 motorway between Prague and Brno which was closed for reconstruction work on Friday. In the course of the night hours, six bridges over the road were demolished attracting camera crews and onlookers. The debris was cleared shortly after dawn and traffic along most of the route was renewed by midday, with the exception of one stretch of the road near Benesov which opened at 4pm on Saturday. The country’s main motorway remains open to traffic throughout its four year reconstruction although the speed limit has been reduced along the single lane where work is underway.
Plans to turn the Krivoklat area into a national park may be scuppered by the fall of the centre-right government, the internet news site idnes.cz reported on Saturday. The idea to give the Krivoklat deep spruce forests better protection emerged seven years ago and won strong backing from the outgoing environment minister Tomas Chalupa and agriculture minister Petr Bendl. With their demise the region’s present governor Josef Rihak, who is opposed to the idea of creating a national park in the area, may succeed in burying the proposal. He claims that creating a nature reserve is unnecessary since the forests are already well-protected and argues that such a step would negatively impact business and tourism in the region.
The corruption and spying scandal that toppled the centre-right government of prime minister Petr Necas will be the subject of a new play by a group of young actors who specialize in political satire. According to the internet news site lidovky.cz director Tomas Svoboda is working on a play centring around the love triangle of the outgoing prime minister, his wife and his mistress and chief-of-staff. The play will reportedly contain authentic dialogues from police wiretappings. It is expected to premiere at Prague’s Divadlo pod Palmovkou in the autumn.
Police have launched a nation-wide search for pop singer Iveta Bartosova who has been missing from her Prague home since Wednesday evening. The 47-year-old Bartosova, who is believed to have a serious drinking problem, left her home in the company of an admirer whom she once claimed to have stalked her. Her live-in partner reported her missing to the police, saying she had been abducted by the said admirer. He admitted that he and Bartosova had had a fight prior to her disappearance.
The Czech Republic marks the 1150th anniversary of the arrival of
Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius in Great Moravia on Friday, a
public holiday. Thousands of people attended a Catholic mass at Velehrad,
the capitol of the erstwhile Moravian empire. The mass, celebrated by Czech
and foreign Catholic dignitaries, was also attended by Czech President
Miloš Zeman. In a message marking the occasion, Pope Francis asked Czechs
to appreciate their Christian roots and build a society of tolerance and
Around 750 city and town halls in Moravia hoisted the Moravian flag on Friday to mark the anniversary. On Thursday, the celebrations started with a charity concert in Velehrad by the Zlín philharmonic orchestra and a number of other performers.
Deputy environment minister Tomáš Podivínský is set to become the environment minister in the Czech caretaker government, designated Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok told reporters on Friday. Mr Podivínský, a former career diplomat, has been at the ministry since October 2012. All but one post in the new government, to be appointed next week, has been filled; Mr Rusnok is yet to find the new finance minister. The designated prime minister said he would announced his candidates for the post on Monday.
Two sections of the country’s major D1 motorway between Prague and Brno is set to close for traffic for 14 hours on Friday night due to reconstruction works. Six bridges over the road will be demolished, part of major renovation the motorway will undergo over the next four years. The sections to close until Saturday morning are located near Brno and in Central Bohemia; traffic will be diverted onto local roads for the duration of the works.