Sunday, April 29, 2012

Czechs rally in Prague to protest government austerity measures

Tens of thousands of Czechs have taken to the streets in the capital city of Prague in one of the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the fall of communism to protest against austerity measures.

Unions, pensioners, student associations and others infuriated by austerity cuts took part in a protest rally on Saturday, chanting “Enough is enough.”

The protesters demanded the government's resignation over reforms and budget cuts and called for early parliamentary elections as they blame the country's budget deficit on capitalism, the government and spending cuts.

Unions have promised more protests and civil disobedience to paralyze the government unless their legitimate demands are met.

"They promised budgetary responsibility but instead the government debt is growing. They promised to fight graft but corruption has gripped their parties and the entire society," Jaroslav Zavadil, the head of the Confederation of Trade Unions, told the crowd.

Meanwhile, Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas says the austerity measures are needed to avoid falling in a “debt trap.”

The government has pledged to reduce the country's budget deficit to below 3.0 percent of gross domestic product (GPD) in 2013 from 3.5 percent expected this year.

The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, triggering incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European Countries.

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