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3 Jun, 2008 00:43

Czech hunger strikers win wide support

Prominent figures in the Czech Republic, as well as supporters around the world, have backed two hunger strikers in their campaign against a U.S. radar base in the country. Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar starved for three weeks, demanding a national referendum

Jan Tamash and Jan Bednar have encouraged a wave of hunger strikes across the Czech Republic.

High profile figures will now continue the protest – fasting for 24 hours each – in a hunger strike relay.
“They include people from the Czech political scene, including the Social Democrats. So, we decided to suspend the hunger strike, not to terminate it but to suspend it to give this wave that we started a chance to have some effect,” Jan Tamas, the hunger striker, explained.

The first to take up the baton is a political activist and former dissident, Petr Uhl.
“In a democratic country the government should not be denying a public discussion, when most of the population is against the radar base. As the government has not been willing to talk to us, I believe we have to make an obvious protest so that more people become aware of the situation,” he said.
The latest opinion poll from the Czech Academy of Science shows 65 per cent of Czechs are against the missile-shield plans.

The hunger strikers’ actions have even gained the sympathy of some Americans.
American Robert Hyde is currently living in Prague. He supports the hunger strikers’ call for a referendum.

“For them to be taking such action deserves great respect and all the support that can be given. As far as the ultimate outcome I think this is the kind of democracy the US might think it might be encouraging in other parts of the world. It’s actually happening here, that these people are committed to the people’s voice being heard,” he said.