Daily news summary
Ten thousand march on Prague Castle to mark Soviet invasion and show disaproval with current leadership
On Wednesday evening, thousands of people attended a protest march in Prague initiated by Million Moments for Democracy, the organization behind the largest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the Velvet Revolution in 1989, which brought an estimated quarter of a million demonstrators to Prague’s Letná plain in June. Organisers say the event was attended by 10,000 people and served as a reminder of the events of the Soviet invasion in 1968, the brutal Communist crackdown on protesters in 1969 and as a protest against the current prime minister and president.
Attendees met on Prague's Wenceslas Square in the evening hours before heading to Hradčany Square in front of Prague Castle.
The march was part of a wider string of demonstrations organized by the group this Wednesday. These were held in 93 sites across the country, including all of the Czech Republic’s major cities.
Police investigating vandalizing of Konev statue
Police are investigating the vandalizing of the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague 6 which was splattered with red paint on the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968.
The statue was erected in commemoration of the general’s role in helping to liberate Czechoslovakia from Nazi oppression, however Konev remains a controversial figure since he was also involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
His statue has been spray painted in protest on several occasions in recent years.
Warsaw ready to negotiate Bogatyne border dispute with Prague
Poland has acknowledged it was wrong to proceed with changes to the Bogatyne city plan, which opened the way for the expansion of the Turów brown coal mine in the close proximity to the Czech border, the Czech Environment Ministry said on Thursday.
The unilateral move raised protests from both the Czech Environment Ministry and the Liberec region. According to them, the Polish side did not wait for the conclusion of bilateral consultations on changes to the land-use plan and failed to take the Czech Republic’s reservations into account. The Czech Republic called for an extraordinary meeting on the issue last week.
Despite unfinished negotiations with the Czech Republic, Bogatyne earlier approved a change to the zoning plan, which, among other things, allowed the extension of the mine by 14.6 hectares towards the border with the Czech Republic.
The Czech side had requested information on the impact of the change on water resources, agricultural land and other habitats, as well as air and noise pollution on the Czech side of the border.
The Polish Directorate-General for Environmental Protection should deliver the information before Wednesday, August 28, when the Czech and Polish governments are to hold a joint session in Warsaw.
Fraud suspects from Taiwan file complaint against extradition verdict
Eight fraud suspects from Taiwan wanted by the Chinese authorities have filed a constitutional complaint against a verdict by the Prague Supreme Court which would have allowed their extradition to mainland China.
The Taiwan nationals have rejected the accusations as false and argue that deportation to China would put them at risk of torture or even death.
The Interior Ministry has granted them subsidiary protection for the duration of a year. The case will now be reviewed by the Constitutional Court and a final decision on their possible extradition will be made by Justice Minister Marie Benešová.
President Zeman opens agricultural trade fair Země živitelka 2019
President Miloš Zeman and Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman attended the opening of the annual agricultural trade fair Země živitelka 2019 in České Budějovice on Thursday. The largest domestic show of agricultural equipment, products and animals attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year.
The trade fair is accompanied by dozens of side events focusing on topical issues relating to agriculture such as bark beetle infestation, water management and measures to fight drought.
In his opening speech at the trade fair President Zeman called for common sense in fighting the bark-beetle infestation and opposed efforts to expand the no-go zones in the country’s national parks.
Two white storks killed by Stutox II rat poison
Two white storks found dead in the Opava region, were killed by the Stutox II rodent poison recently banned by the government, according to the results of laboratory tests conducted by the State Veterinary Institute.
The Agriculture Ministry gave farmers the green light for blanker applications of the highly toxic poison against overbred rodents earlier this month, but the government quickly reversed the decision after warnings from environmentalists regarding serious risks to other animals.
Previously it was reported that a number of pheasants and rabbits were also killed by the poison.
Friday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.