Twenty people protested against the closure of the castle grounds

Bengisu Kaya

Twenty participants, accompanied by eight uniformed police officers and others in civilian clothes, had to go around the castle from Hradčanské square along the New Castle Stairs, around the Senate on Valdštejnská street through Klárov and climb the old castle stairs. Some of the participants gave up the round trip. Among them was the director Olga Sommer. At the black tower, police searched through complaints of some all the participants in the meeting. Although the castle a few days ago declared that the searches would be done only at random. People still cannot enter the castle grounds. They can only visit the gardens open from the beginning of April.

Vojtěch Razima, the founder of the association, said, “Most of the civilized world commemorates the day of monuments and mansions by making the monuments available for free. These days it’s not possible, so at least there are accessible gardens and things like that. I regret that the Czech Republic seems to have gone backwards and we must, as citizens of this country, fight to make the most important monument, the Prague Castle, accessible, that is, its grounds, not its internal spaces. I think we will win this fight sooner or later.”

The meeting also attended by Senator Jiří Růžička, who said that for residents of Prague 6, the road through the Prague Castle is a natural link, for example, when traveling to work. “We considered it shameful that the passage was closed. The first time the office of the president of the Republic answered us, the second time no, I would say that the arrogance escalated, ” said Růžička. Prague 6 is also responsible for the opening of the castle grounds for a long time. Its vice-mayor Jan Lacina said today that he sees no reason why the grounds should be closed.

The Kverulant claims that closing the castle has no legal basis. Therefore, he announced to the magistrate the convocation of a meeting on the square near St. George, that is, between the cathedral of St. Vitus and St. George’s basilica. The magistrate asked the querulant to prove the consent of the owner or user of the land, that is, the Prague castle’s administration. Kverulant did not apply to the castle, appealed unsuccessfully to the interior, and then filed a lawsuit against his decision, which argued that the area is not a public space. On Friday, the court decided that the interior ministry should deal with the matter further. In response to a question from CTK, the ministry said that the event organizer does not have to wait for a new decision of the interior ministry and can hold the rally. Kverulant’s lawyer Pavel Uhl said today that Friday’s judgment might probably be final only by delivery.

According to Jiří Ovčáček, the castle is closed due to a government decree. That was also repeated today by police officers everywhere along the way to the rally participants. When the announced assembly began, the police did not want to let its participants through a specially designated entrance from Hradcany square through the fourth courtyard, through which people can go to the cathedral for worship. As an argument, they stated that they would meet with the mass participants, which is undesirable according to the police.