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March 6, 2018 5:52 pm | FILED UNDER: politics

MP Zdenek Ondracek Out: Communist-Era Riot Cop Resigns After Mass Protests

By ČTK

Prague, March 6 (CTK) – Communist (KSCM) MP Zdenek Ondracek today resigned from the post of chairman of a parliamentary commission supervising the police inspection authority GIBS, he told the lower house of Czech parliament.

 

He took the step shortly before a vote on his dismissal was to be proposed by the right-wing opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) in the lower house.

 

Ondracek criticised the right-wing opposition that demanded his departure from the post for a long time. He said he and his family faces strong pressure from the media due to these so-called democratic parties.

 

He said he has not given up the post because of the people who shouted in the streets.

 

Ondracek was elected head of the lower house commission supervising the GIBS on March 2. It raised a controversy due to his past of a police officer under the Communist regime and a member of the riot police unit who took part in a crackdown on anti-Communist demonstrators.

 

Thousands of people protested against Ondracek’s election in Prague and other Czech towns on Monday and many signed a petition for a new election of the GIBS commission head.

 

Prime Minister Andrej Babis, leader of the ANO movement, that contributed to Ondracek’s election last week, proposed Ondracek’s dismissal from the post in reaction to the strong protests.

 

The opposition politicians welcomed it that Ondracek resigned. They mostly said it was good that the KSCM reacted to the street protests.

 

Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy chairman Jiri Zimola said he is glad that Ondracek acted in a reasonable way and realised how serious the whole situation is.

 

ODS leader Petr Fiala said “it turns out that resistance, persistence and protests are still effective.”

 

However, it would have been much better if Ondracek would have never been nominated for chairman of the commission supervising the GIBS.

 

CSSD leader Jan Hamacek shared this view. “We could have saved ourselves of this charade if the ANO movement had not supported Ondracek from the beginning,” he tweeted.

 

Mayors and Independents (STAN) lower house group’s head Jan Farsky said the clash showed that Babis feared public opinion.

 

“Ondracek, ANO and the KSCM eventually realised that they cannot win this battle. I thank the public that played a major role yesterday. I expect the KSCM sacrifice to be well rewarded and the coalition partner CSSD to get a bonus in form of the post of head of the commission for the GIBS,” Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) MP Marek Vyborny tweeted.

 

The ANO movement is negotiating with the CSSD and the KSCM about a possible next government.

 

Pirate MP Mikulas Ferjencik noted that the number of those who protested against Zdenek Ondracek on Monday was higher than the number of protesters who gathered in Prague’s centre on November 17, 1989.

 

This 1989 rally triggered the Velvet Revolution that resulted in the fall of the Czechoslovak Communist regime.

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