Economy Social Issues

Czech Republic: "Social Armageddon" in Prague

17 June 2011
Presseurop
Lidové noviny

Lidové noviny , 17 June 2011

"A typically Czech strike", headines Lidové noviny, referring to “The Good Soldier Schweik”, the unfinished novel by Czech writer and satirist Jaroslav Hašek that features an honest innocent, naive and incompetent – who may also be shrewdly cunning. On June 16, the public transport unions brought Prague to a standstill with their demonstrations (about a thousand strong) against the austerity measures imposed by the government, in particular the pension reform. No train moved, the Prague metro was not running for the first time in its history, and while some Praguers took to their bikes, others took a long weekend and stayed home, writes the Czech daily. Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, who came out into the street to confront the demonstrators, escaped a shower of tomatoes and eggs at the last minute, the newspaper reports. Meanwhile, President Václav Klaus was forced to cancel a party for his seventieth birthday, reports Hospodářské noviny, adding "The explosion of the anger of the people, the social Armageddon and the invasion of the French spirit into Central Europe have run up against the Czech spirit of Schweik.”