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13 May, 2008 09:34

Czechs on hunger strike against U.S. missile defence

Two Czech activists are on hunger strike in protest against the proposed U.S. missile defence system in eastern Europe. One of the strikers, Jan Tamas, says the radar base is not only a matter of security, but an issue of democracy in his country.

The U.S. plan includes building a radar site in the Czech Republic and installing ten interceptors in Poland.

Jan Tamas, Czech humanist party chairman, a civic group ‘No to Bases’ representative, told RT that before orgainising the hunger strike they’d tried many other things including non-violent protests and international conferences.

“I’ve personally travelled throughout Europe and the U.S. to talk about this with many people,” he said.

“In spite of all that and in spite of the fact that two thirds of Czechs oppose this project, our government is continuing negotiations and is in fact nearing a deal with the U.S.,” he said.

Tamas also believes that “this is not only an issue of the radar site or a military or security issue, but this is an issue of democracy in the country”.

By continuing the negotiations knowing that the majority of the population is against it, the government is “betraying its citizens”, according to Tamas.

When launching the hunger strike, the activists organised a press conference and “there was quite a lot of media coverage.”

Tamas said they have no doubts the Czech government will notice the protest.

“Whether they will stop the negotiations with the U.S. government will depend on several factors. One of them will be the response of the general public,” he said.

“We are hoping that people will join this process and get involved in this more actively,” Tamas added.