Czech Students to Hold Climate Strike Demanding Government Action

Petr Horník

Students from the Fridays for Future movement plan another climate strike on Friday, April 21. They are demanding a clear stance from the government against extending mining at the Bílina mine and the publication of documents on the state of groundwater around the Polish Turów mine.

Representatives of the movement announced this to journalists at a press conference on Wednesday. The planned strike will begin at Malostranské náměstí in Prague at 3:03 pm, symbolizing the year 2033 when the Czech Republic was supposed to have created conditions for moving away from coal, according to the government’s program declaration.

“We are mainly organizing the climate strike on April 21, 2023, because the government is currently silent about the fact that mining authorities want to extend mining at the Bílina mine until 2035, despite going against the government’s program declaration and against solving the climate crisis. We have been fighting for a solution to the climate crisis for a long time. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and that is why we, as students, have decided to strike for the climate,” said spokesperson Klára Bělíčková.

The Northern Bohemian Mines was granted permission to extend mining at the Bílina mine in Teplice until 2035 by the District Mining Authority at the end of March this year. Greenpeace plans to appeal against the decision. Since the ČEZ Group controls the Northern Bohemian Mines and the Czech Republic and has almost a 70% stake in ČEZ, high school students are asking the government to issue a clear stance against extending mining.

According to the Ministry of Industry, the extension of mining is not ruled out with the government’s aim to move away from coal by 2033. The government’s to stop burning coal, not mining it. “The government has committed in its program declaration to create conditions for energy transformation and the development of coal regions so that moving away from coal by 2033 is possible. Nothing has changed in that regard,” the office said in March.

The Polish Turów mine is located near the Czech and German borders. Environmental organizations have long warned that mining endangers the environment and destroys groundwater in the area. They also criticize the Czech-Polish agreement from February 2022 on addressing the impact of mining in the Turów mine, which they say does not protect Czech citizens from water loss.

In March, the Ministry of the Environment stated that it provides information to the public transparently and based on the law. According to the ministry, Poland is fulfilling its commitments.