A memorial service at the Czech Radio building on Prague’s Vinohradská St. on Sunday morning commemorated the 48th invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops. The then Czechoslovak Radio building saw some of the bloodiest clashes after tanks rolled into the country on the night of August 20 and 21 1968 to quell the Prague Spring reform movement. Among the speakers at Sunday’s ceremony was MP Karel Schwarzenberg, who said it was not only important to honour the fallen heroes of that time – it was necessary to fight for the freedom of speech in all eras. Other participants included the ministers of human rights and culture, Jiří Dienstbier and Daniel Herman. Mr. Dienstbier said Russia today was pursuing a policy of limiting the sovereignty of other states and that the 1968 invasion showed that the best route for a country like the Czech Republic was cooperation within Europe.
The Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavý took silver in the mountain bike cross country race on the final day of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 2012 gold medallist was neck and neck with eventual winner Nino Schurter until midway through the fifth lap when the Swiss pulled clear. The Czech Republic ended the Olympics with 10 medals: one gold, two silver and seven bronze.
The Czech flag at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be carried by canoeist Josef Dostál. Dostál picked up a silver medal in the kayak single 1,000 m category before achieving bronze with the Czech Republic in the kayak four 1,000 m. The Czech tricolor was carried at the opening ceremony by Lukáš Krpálek, who subsequently won the country’s only gold medal so far in judo.
Czech David Svoboda finished ninth in the modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, failing to repeat his gold success in London four years ago. Svoboda who is 31, finished 16 seconds off the medals in Rio. There was also disappointment for the Czech Republic in the men’s javelin. Three Czechs qualified for the final but the best of them, Vítězslav Veselý, could only manage seventh place.
Anti-Muslim campaigner Martin Konvička caused panic on Sunday when he staged what the Czech News Agency described as a “mock Islamic State invasion of the Czech Republic” on Prague’s Old Town Square. Mr. Konvička arrived at the event on a camel followed by a personnel carrier of “fighters” shouting Allahu Akbar and firing replica guns into the air. After the shooting many passers-by started fleeing and the police and a City Hall official halted the event. The police are now investigating whether the crime of spreading false alarm was committed during the event.
The number of illegal rubbish dumps in the Czech Republic is growing, Czech Radio reported on Sunday. The station quoted the civic group ZmapujTo, which monitors unauthorised dumps, as saying that while two years ago people had reported 800 such sites by means of a mobile app, last year there were over 1,000. Czech Radio said the number of small illegal dumps in particular was growing.
Cal Crutchlow of the UK won the Czech Grand Prix in Brno on Sunday for his first ever MotoGP victory. The rider with the LCR Honda team covered 22 laps of the rain-hit 5.4-kilometre Brno Circuit in 47 minutes and 44 seconds. Crutchlow denied a record eighth victory in Brno to Valentino Rossi, with the Italian coming in second. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Kornfeil came sixth in the Moto3 category.