Support among Czech public for war in Iraq running thin

Photo: CTK

The standoff in the United Nations security council continues. The United Sates along with Great Britain have been pressuring the UN Security Council to pass a new resolution which would substantiate the use of force in order to disarm Iraq. The Czech Republic has relentlessly declared that a new UN resolution is a vital and essential ingredient if force is to be used to disarm Iraq. However, Czechs are increasingly sceptical of the need for war.

Photo: CTK
Czech trade unions have recently added themselves to the list of opponents to the conflict. In a show of solidarity with their European counterparts, trade unions in the Czech Republic have called on their members to hold a work stoppage on Friday at noon to protest any attack on Iraq. Workers in the Czech Republic will be joining those in Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and Germany.

A number of demonstrations have taken place in Prague and other cities around the Czech Republic in the past few months to oppose a war in Iraq, however participation was much lower in Prague then it was in other world capitals.

Photo: CTK
Despite the low turnout at these demonstrations a new poll reinforces the Czech public's opposition to a war in Iraq. The poll, conducted by the CVVM agency, shows that the overwhelming majority of Czechs are against a war with Iraq, with or without a new UN Security Council resolution. The agency noted that public support for a U.S.-led war against Iraq has been falling over the past year. In August of last year estimates maintained that the Czech public was evenly split 50-50. The new poll claimed that just 12 percent of the population would support a war in Iraq without the backing of the UN Security Council, and just 22 percent would support military action even with UN support.

Spearheaded by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, Green parties throughout Europe, as well as the tiny Czech Green party, have been very vocal in their opposition to a war in Iraq. I caught up with Arnold Cassola who is the secretary general of the European Federation of Green Parties which represents 32 Green Parties across Europe, including the Czech Green Party:

"Well its very clear, all member parties of the federation are against any attack on Iraq. We are very critical of the U.S. and U.K. position. We believe that any unilateral action is illegal and any decisions have to be taken within the United Nations, since we believe in the rule of law. As Green's we have also organized a delegation to Washington in which 21 members of the European Parliament were present. We also work in close cooperation with the U.S. Greens, that now have three million voters in the US against the war and what we propose is that there is more time given to the inspectors to continue with there work because the results are being seen. Any bombardment, any war, can only bring more suffering on a people who have been suffering for too much time."