The week-long Prague Pride festival celebrating diversity and the gay and lesbian community in the Czech Republic will be coming to an end this weekend. On Saturday, the Prague Pride parade will take place in the Czech capital, starting at Wenceslas Square and finishing at the Střelecký island. While on Sunday, an ecumenical service will be held for festival participants in cooperation with the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren. The festival has been criticized by a number of conservative and religious groups, some of whom will most likely be present at the Saturday parade to protest the event.
Jiří Dienstbier, the Social Democratic candidate for the 2013 presidential elections, has expressed his support for new laws to permit gay couples to both enter into registered partnerships and adopt children in the Czech Republic. Discussing his position, Dienstbier stated that he believed that no institute could supplant an upbringing provided to a child by a stable couple. Recent opinion polls have Dientsbier achieving around 6% support while independent candidate Jan Fischer leads the pack with 34.5%, according to the Meridian agency.
Last week saw the official opening of a new Integration Centre for foreigners in Prague. Currently, almost twelve percent of the capital’s population are now foreigners, and city hall has been mulling over the plan to open such a centre for a few years now. With the financial crisis looming, Czech ministries are introducing increasingly stricter policies toward foreign workers and other migrants. The Integration Centre is meant to alleviate some of the hurdles that foreigners living here face.
A total of 1390 homosexual couples have entered into registered partnerships in the 10.5 million Czech Republic since the respective law came into force in July 2006. 130 couples have since terminated the arrangement. The Czech Republic was first in the post-communist bloc to legalise same-sex partnerships which has led a few dozen foreign couples to tie the knot in this country. The same-sex partnership offers similar rights to marriage but does not allow the couple to adopt children.
The second instalment of the Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities kicked off in the Czech capital on Monday. The festival programme offers some 80 concerts, exhibitions, parties, debates and other events. The festival, held under the auspices of Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, received backing from 11 embassies including those of the US, UK, Switzerland, and others. For their part, Czech conservatives groups have voiced protests against the festival, dismissing it as an expression of “homosexualism”. The festival will culminate on Saturday with a march through the city centre.
The conservative group D.O.S.T. has asked Prime Minister Petr Nečas to publicly support their protest action against Prague Pride, a week-long festival in support of gay and lesbian rights due to take place next week. The group says it has turned to Mr. Nečas as the leader of a party that has repeatedly advocated conservative and family values. It has also asked for support from Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda, who rejected a similar appeal last year. The week of Prague Pride events includes debates, parties and exhibitions and will culminate with a march through the city centre on Saturday, August 18th.The group D.O.S.T. plans to stage its own march in support of traditional family values in the city centre.
After the deadline for evacuating condemned buildings in Ostrava’s Přívoz district passed on Saturday night, around twenty five Romani families remained in their homes and have been carrying out minor repairs in an effort to get the eviction order reversed. Authorities visited the site on Monday to evaluate the state of each building, warning residents that they are remaining at their own risk. Radio Prague spoke to Kumar Vishwanathan from the Ostrava-based civic group Co-existence who had spent almost a week in the Přednádraží ghetto with these
Some 150 Czech Romanies to be evicted over poor technical and sanitary conditions from the Prednadrazi slum in Ostrava would not leave by a set deadline, Jan Bandy, a member of the local self-rule body created by the tenants, told the Czech news agency on Saturday. The relocation was ordered by the planning and building authority on the grounds that the buildings were no longer inhabitable. Mr Bandy said the locals had instead decided implement minor repairs; Bandy said there were still some 25 families or 180 people in the houses, many of them children. Indian-born activist Kumar Vishwanathan, from the civic group Co-Existence - helping the residents - confirmed that they had opted to repair the old homes gradually.
For a few weeks in the late summer of 1989, Prague became the scene of a bizarre – and now largely forgotten - refugee crisis. It had all begun in the spring, when Hungary had declared its decision to take down the barbed wire on its borders with Austria. A growing number of East Germans, desperate at the suffocating lack of reform in their country, took advantage of this new gap in the Iron Curtain as a way of fleeing to the West. But smuggling themselves into Austria was an uncertain business, and before long, they started seeking refuge at the
Some 200 Romanies living in a ghetto on the outskirts of Ostrava have been ordered to move out of their flats for health reasons. The local waterworks cut water supplies to the area last week over unpaid bills and there are reportedly problems with the sewage system. The local authorities say the flats are no longer habitable due to the atrocious living conditions. The owner of the property says he could not undertake maintenance because a growing number of tenants were not paying rent. There are 44 families living in the ghetto and many have refused to move out. The city hall has so far found alternate housing for 26 families and is looking for means to provide for the others as well.