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Thousands protested in Prague for referendum and real democracy

Prague, Czech Republic, November 17, 2007
More than five thousand people protested in Prague, Czech Republic today for a referendum and real democracy. The protest was organized by the “No to the Bases” initiative which opposed the US plan to build a military base in the Czech Republic as part of the National Missile Defense System.

The demonstration took place on a historic day when Czechs celebrated 18 years since the “Velvet revolution” which ended the communist regime. “We are here today, because our dreams about a real democracy have not been fulfilled. Again we are ruled by politicians who do not take the will of the citizens into account,” said Jan Tamas, spokesperson of the initiative. He refers to the fact that the government continues negotiations about the placement of the US base in spite of the fact that 68% of Czechs oppose the plan, as latest polls show. “We have been joined by trade unions, students, artists, mayors, intellectuals and many other groups who feel that what we are experiencing is not a real democracy.” The trade unions present included policemen, fireman, teachers and civic engineers.

During the main speech the protesters have proposed to boycott American products and companies operating in the country as a way of increasing pressure on the US administration to abolish the plan. The people chanted slogans like “demission”, “the radar will not be here” and “referendum”.