Czech Republic's transportation paralyzed by strike against austerity reforms

09:43, June 17, 2011      

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Almost all public transportation was crippled in the Czech Republic Thursday as a result of strikes against planned austerity measures.

Prague's subway did not operate for the first time since its opening, while only 40 percent of trams and 20 percent of buses operated in the capital.

Railway transport was entirely stopped across the country, and public transport was also limited in the regional centers like of Brno, Ostrava, Olomouc and other big cities.

Thousands of people took part in a rally in the center of Prague, showing anger at corruption and at the lowered living standards of the lower and middle classes.

Protests feared that the reforms would mean that everything is going to be more expensive, while many have already problems making ends meet.

Reports said Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek was hit by tomatoes when he tried to persuade the protesters about the necessity of further austerity measures, which include reforms on pension, healthcare and tax.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Jiri Paroubek made a public appearance in support of the protesters. Labor unionists in hospitals and schools also backed the transport unions by smaller acts.

The unions canceled a march to Prague Castle, the presidential seat, after President Vaclav Klaus called off a birthday celebration. He turns 70 on June 19.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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