President Klaus in shooting scare
It was to have been a routine bridge opening ceremony in the town of Chrastava, north of Prague with President Vaclav Klaus guest of honour at the event. As it turned out, an unexpected act of hooliganism gave the president a bad scare and revealed just how useless his bodyguards were in a crisis.
The bodyguards who failed to protect the president face sanctions and the police presidium has promised immediate action to remedy the situation. Deputy police chief Tomáš Kužel said on Sunday that security around the head of state would be tightened without delay.
“The conclusions we have come to are that while there was a sufficient number of bodyguards present their response was utterly inadequate. This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.”
The police are now debating the idea of giving all top officials better protection and suggest a change of the law which would make it compulsory for people in high office to have bodyguards – an idea that has met with open ridicule from Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek.
The assailant responsible for the security gaffe, a supporter of the Communist Party, says that he wanted to attract attention to the concerns of the ordinary people who were being impoverished by the present government. Rotten eggs or tomatoes would not have made an adequate statement, he noted. After being questioned by police and charged with disorderly conduct he was back at work on Monday awaiting trial that could result in a two-year prison term. Asked whether he regretted his action he gave the media a terse ”no”.
While the prime minister and other government officials have condemned the mock attack, neither the head of government nor the speaker of the lower house Miroslava Němcová are prepared to accept the presence of bodyguards on a regular basis. Opposition leader Bohuslav Sobotka says there’s a much simpler solution to the problem.
Meanwhile, President Klaus, who strongly rebuked his bodyguards seconds after the shooting incident on Friday, has changed his tone saying that the incident was a political attack that reflected the sorry state of the society and slamming those who he said incited such behavior.