Hundreds of gathered in the centre of Prague on Saturday in protest against the government’s planned pension reform. The overhaul of the Czech pension system is set to raise the VAT on majority of goods. The protesters also objected to plans to introduce tuition fees at Czech universities. The rally, organized by the opposition group ProAlt, was addressed by the head of the Czech unions’ federation before moving on to a march through city centre. Estimates of the number of participants vary between 200 and 1,000.
Two men, aged 63 and 71, died after a fire broke out in their apartment in a high-rise building in Lovosice, in northern Bohemia, on Saturday. The three-storey buildings had to be evacuated. Firefighters said the likely cause of the fire was that one of the men lit a cigarette in bed and fell asleep. It took about an hour to put out the fire, a spokesman for the firefighters said.
The annual Czech Lions film awards will be handed out in Prague on Saturday. The low-budget political thriller Walking Too Fast, set in the 1970s, landed 13 nominations, a record for the Lions. On Friday, the Czech TV and Film Academy announced that actor and writer Zdeněk Svěrák won the Czech Lion award for exceptional contribution to Czech cinema. Mr Svěrák wrote the screenplays for three films nominated for the US Academy Awards, including Kolya that won the Oscar in 1997.
Prague’s Dejvické Theatre received the annual Aflréd Radok Award for best Czech ensemble of 2010 at a ceremony in Prague on Saturday, for the fourth time in a row. The theatre’s staging of Man without a Past by the Finnish author Aki Kaurismaki got the award for the performance of the year, while the lead actor in the play, David Novotný, was given the Alfréd Radok award for best actor. Petr Zelenka’s play Očistění, or Vindication, which premiered at the South Bohemian Theatre in České Budějovice, won the award for best Czech play.
Police arrest man over ammo theft
The police have arrested a civilian employee of the south Moravian police’ special response unit who allegedly stole and sold tens of thousands of ammunition rounds, a police spokeswoman said on Saturday. The man, who was arrested during a sale of part of the stole ammo, has been under investigation for several months. The spokeswoman said he was facing two years in prison.
After Saturday’s double, The Czech Republic’s men’s tennis team is leading 2:1 over Kazakhstan in the first round of the Davis Cup. Czechs Tomáš Berdych and Lukáš Dlouhý beat Kazakhstan’s Yuri Schukin and Evgeny Korolev 6:4, 6.4, 7:6 in Ostrava on Saturday, securing the second point for the Czechs. In Friday’s singles, Jan Hálek lost a five-set battle to Golubev but Czech number one Tomáš Berdych equalized when he beat Mikhail Kukushkin 7:6, 6.2, 6:3.
Czech athlete Denisa Roslová sensationally won the gold medal in 400 metres at the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships in Paris on Saturday. Setting her new personal best, the 24-year-old Czech started off poorly but had an amazing finish and took gold for 51.73. The gold medal from Paris is the first medal in the 400 metres event for the athlete who previously competed in long jump in which she took bronze at the European indoor championships four years ago.
Denisa Rosolová’s gold is the third medal for the Czech Republic at the event; on Saturday, Jaroslav Bába took silver in high jump while on Friday, Petr Svoboda won the European indoor title in 60 metres hurdles.
The current spell of sunny weather is set to end on Sunday, with night temperatures expected to drop to around -9 degrees Celsius.