PM reacts to protests against president

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, on an official four-day visit to the US, has reacted to protests against Czech head-of-state Miloš Zeman on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which toppled the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. In a text message to the Czech News Agency, the prime minister noted that while the throwing of eggs at the president was “unacceptable aggression”, Mr Zeman likewise, in his view, shouldn’t have used expletives in a recent radio broadcast, nor relativized the brutality of a crackdown by communist riot police against students on November 17th, 1989.

The prime minister has come out critically against Mr Zeman before, saying the president had cast the Czech Republic in a bad light through the use of vulgar expressions. The foreign press noted on Monday that many Czechs were opposed to a strong pro-Russian stance by the president or his behaviour on a recent trip to China. One German daily suggested that some Czechs longed for a “new” Václav Havel – in other words, a strong moral authority. The late Mr Havel was brought to power in the Velvet Revolution and oversaw the country’s return to democracy after more than 40 years of totalitarian rule.

Author: Jan Velinger