Communist chief: Protesters against Ondráček appointment “not democrats”

Communist Party chairman Vojtěch Filip says he does not understand the reasons for a planned demonstration against the election of Zdeněk Ondráček as chairman of the lower house committee that oversees the General Inspectorate of the Security Services, which investigates police crimes. Now a Communist MP, Mr. Ondráček was a member of a police riot unit that beat protesters in 1989.

Speaking on a TV debate show on Sunday, Mr. Filip said Mr. Ondráček’s critics were not democrats and did not respect the rules of civic society. The Communist Party leader also said that more dramatic police interventions than in 1989 had taken place, including against people protesting at an IMF conference in Prague in 2000.

Mr. Filip said he didn’t see “anything bad” about the 1989 clampdowns as it was necessary “for people to feel safe and for the police to function”.

A demonstration against Mr. Ondráček’s appointment is planned for 19:00 on Monday on Prague’s Národní St., where the violent quelling of a demonstration on November 17, 1989 sparked the Velvet Revolution.

Author: Ian Willoughby