Some 20 feminists participated in the first-ever SlutWalk in Prague on Saturday, which kicked off in the center in the afternoon. Participants of slut walks, a recent international phenomenon that originated in Toronto this year, dress provocatively in an effort to draw attention to the fact that rape victims are still sometimes given the blame for acts of sexual abuse. The first SlutWalk protest marches came as a reaction to a Toronto police officer’s suggestion that women “should avoid dressing like sluts” to remain safe. Every day, one to two cases of rape occur in the Czech Republic, and in 2010, police statistics indicated an increase in rape cases by 22 percent as compared to the previous year. Of those, 70 percent involved victims under 18.
The Czech Republic have reached the final of the European Under-19 Football Championship for the first time, after beating Serbia 4:2 in Friday’s semi-final in Romania. The Czechs, who are managed by Jaroslav Hřebík, had a 3:0 lead within 20 minutes thanks to strikes from Tomáš Přikryl, Tomáš Kalas, and Tomáš Jeleček. They face Spain – who are world and European champions at senior level – in Monday’s final.
Czech soccer’s top flight competition, the Gambrinus League, resumed on Friday evening after a summer break. In the opening game of the 2011/2012 season, newly promoted Dukla Prague drew 0:0 at home with Sigma Olomouc. Later Bohemians 1905 beat Slavia Prague 2:0 at home at Eden, the stadium they share. There are 30 rounds in the Gambrinus League, with the last one set for late May.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg says he will be sending an ambassador to the National Transitional Council in Libya. Mr Schwarzenberg has said that the Czech Republic will not recognise the rebel government until it controls the entire country and does not intend to open an embassy. However, it is important, he says, to be in contact with the emerging institutions in Libya, for which purpose a ‘part-time’ ambassador will be sent to Benghazi, where the interim leadership is based. The previous Czech ambassador to Tripoli was withdrawn in February at the start of the insurgency. The National Transitional Council has currently been recognised by most of Western Europe and the United States.
A group of residents of the Šumava National Park on Friday morning held a protest against environmental activists preventing the cutting of trees in a protected zone of the forest. Some 200 arrived at the site of felling to thank the police and loggers and to bring food for the workers. Activists have been shackling themselves around trees and sitting in the treetops all week as police attempt to remove them from the area. The park management intends to fell about 4,000 trees in the protected zone in order to limit the spread of a bark beetle infestation that has devastated the forest. Environmental groups maintain that the park management has no exemption to cut in the zone. However, a preliminary court order allowed loggers to begin work there on Monday.
All involved in the Šumava protest abandoned the area on Friday afternoon after a bomb threat was announced. The police, guards, loggers and activists all left the restricted area to await a bomb squad after an anonymous caller phoned in the threat on the emergency hotline. Six activists had remained at the site and do not intend to return on Friday. An organiser for the protest group said he considered the threat a provocation intended to show the activists in a poor light.
A state prosecutor has halted a move to look into bonuses awarded by Public Affairs chairman Radek John to staffers, saying that the payments were unethical, but not illegal. Police have sought to investigate Mr John regarding the payment of 2.4 million crowns in bonuses to ten of his closest subordinates at the end of last year when he was minister of the interior. The case was brought against Mr John after he publicly defended a bonus of nearly half a million crowns to the head of the fire department intended to keep him from retiring. Other large bonuses, he said then, were paid out because there would not be money for them in the coming year. However, in his formal justification Mr John stated that the bonuses were paid out for the performance of extraordinary or outstanding work-related tasks.
A new poll conducted by the Factum Invenio agency suggests a six-party parliament would emerge if elections were held today. Like other recent polls, the survey suggests a large victory for the Social Democratic Party with 29% of the vote, more than 12 percentage points over their closest rivals, the Civic Democrats. The Green Party and the Christian Democrats, neither of which currently has a seat in Parliament, would cross the threshold of admission with 5.2 and 5.5% of the vote, or seven and nine mandates, respectively. The junior coalition party Public Affairs received a percentage of only 3.7.
The Ministry of Transport is checking the records of hundreds of people who recently received driving licences from Prague City Hall due to an investigation into 17 commissioners who are suspected of having issued licences for bribes. Licences issued in the last year in exchange for bribes could be revoked. Transport Minister Pavel Dobeš told the daily Lidové noviny on Friday that those found to have offered bribes would not go unpunished. Seven driving instructors and owners of driving schools are also being investigated in the affair.
A mass will be held in the cathedral of St. Vitus on Friday evening to honour the victims of last week’s massacre in Oslo. The service is to be led by the Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka, who expressed his deep condolences on behalf of the Czech Catholic Church this week in a letter to the Norwegian ambassador Jens Eikaas.