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Czechia: mobilisation against the pandemic law

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Czechia – As Czech senators were preparing last week to vote an extension until November 2022 of the pandemic law, opponents of anti-Covid health measures led by the collective Chcípl pes (The dog is dead) were mobilising for a day of action in the centre of Prague.

“Safeguarding Democracy”

“We will carry on the fight against the pandemic law this week; the amendment is before the Senate, where it will be debated on Thursday. It is up to senators to live up to their mission, which is to safeguard democracy,”

explained Jakub Olbert, the president of this citizens’ initiative. “I firmly believe that many senators will discover that this is a step towards totalitarianism and will say no to the amendment. But

if the Senate also supports the amendment to the pandemic law, we will be on the verge of a totalitarian regime.”

Motorcades from all over the country

Alongside the mobilisation in Prague, car processions were to leave from Karlovy Vary (west of the country), České Budějovice (south), Ostrava (north-east), Liberec (north) and Poděbrady (central Bohemia) heading for Prague.

The outcome of the vote was still open

Although Petr Fiala’s five-party coalition has the majority in the Czech Senate, it was not yet certain that the incriminated amendment to the pandemic law in question would be validated. Indeed, while the government itself has not yet made it clear whether or not it would support the amendment, a number of senators from the ODS and STAN movement intended to vote against it.

“It is a rushed, unfinished law, containing provisions that I cannot agree with, and I think it is unnecessary at the moment,”

declared Senator Václav Chaloupek (STAN). And it was the same with Jaroslav Chalupský (ODS):

“I was against it a year ago, I still am. I don’t like the way the deal on the law was prepared last year, nor the way it is being unjustifiably extended this year in a legislative emergency.”

Independent senator Václav Laska presented similar views:

“Nobody explains why we need a pandemic law. No one explains why the new measures set out therein are necessary.”

In the end, the Czech senate rejected the amendment last Thursday in spite of the government’s pressure and Health Minister Vlastimil Válek’s threat that without it being passed quickly by Parliament, a state of emergency would have to be declared on 1 March.