In Prague

Nick Holdstock

Around 600 protesters gathered in Prague on Saturday morning near the Old Town Square. 'No Corruption', the banners said: 'We are One'; 'Game Over. Insert CHANGE to Continue.' We marched first to the stock exchange, then on towards the Vltava River, surrounded all the way by police, who often stopped us for no obvious reason. At one of these halts a man in plain clothes took photographs, which caused some anger, but otherwise the mood was cheerful.

In front of a government building on the other side of the river people waved their keys in the air, an echo of one of the gestures made during the Velvet Revolution.

Halfway up the long, looping road to the Castle – no one was shouting slogans; it’s a stiff climb – the police stopped us again. A tourist bus disgorged its passengers. They were in their sixties and seventies, well-dressed, affluent-looking, unlikely, on the face of it, to be sympathetic to our calls for an end to global capitalism, inequality and the tyranny of the banks. They stared at us for a moment. Then they began to applaud. The crowd found its voice.


  • 17 October 2011 at 9:42pm
    Jorrocks says:
    I live in Prague, not far from the "long, looping road" that so imposed itself on your vocal chords. Not to be a wet blanket, but, really, none of the Czechs I know - liberal, right-minded, disenchanted, Havel-loving, Klaus-hating folk - would have bothered with this protest. They feel quite strongly that "No, we can't."

  • 17 October 2011 at 10:53pm
    Jorrocks says:
    Oh, dear: I meant "vocal cords", not "vocal chords". We don't do protest but we do love our slivovice, alas.

    • 18 October 2011 at 9:02am
      Geoff Roberts says: @ Jorrocks
      Blank Czechs?

    • 18 October 2011 at 12:28pm
      Jorrocks says: @ Geoff Roberts
      These days, in more senses than one, I'm afraid.

  • 18 October 2011 at 9:04am
    Geoff Roberts says:
    Hope that there's something in the pipeline (from Thomas Jones?) about the way that the Italian authorities scammed the demonstrators in Rome. No Police on the route but some hooded figures on the rampage is how I heard it.