CZECH REPUBLIC

Czech youths protest their leaders with eggs

For politicians in the Czech Republic, the European elections have turned the country into something of a sticky battleground. For two weeks the country's leaders were faced with increasing numbers of attacks by egg throwers. At first they tried to make a joke of it, but after the assaults became more violent, the politicians were relieved today to see the young activists put down their egg cartons. Read more...

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For politicians in the Czech Republic, the European elections have turned the country into something of a sticky battleground. For the past two weeks the country's leaders have been faced with increasing numbers of attacks by egg-throwers. At first they tried to make a joke of it, but after the assaults became more violent, the politicians were relieved today to see the young activists put down their egg cartons.

In order to coordinate their efforts, the 5,000 activists set up a Facebook group on Tuesday. In four days they had already attracted 45,000 fans. Some of them blame the Social Democrat (CSSD) leader, Jiri Paroubek, for toppling the Czech government in the middle of their EU presidency with a vote of no confidence -- something widely considered selfish and unpatriotic. Others can't forgive him for supporting a violent police assault on techno party CzechTek in 2005 when he was prime minister. And then there are those who refuse to condone his cooperation with the Czech Communist Party, which, until recently, had been unanimously ignored by the Czech political establishment. To sum up, as it is expressed on their Facebook page, they don't like the "lies, anger, nastiness and arrogance of the Social Democrats and, first of all, of Mr Paroubek".

Not enough to incite violence, however. Today the activists put down their eggs for fear of the movement becoming too aggressive. They'll speak their minds in the polls now, they say, leaving the politicians to clean themselves up.  

Prague 27 May. Paroubek is the one wearing the striped jumper. Posted by "ignor64".

Video caption reads "We don't want communists in Prague!" Posted by "Pepeee007".

“He tells us, go to a candy store instead.”

Lukas Botka is one of the first egg throwers.

Mr Paroubek is a Social Democrat, but he doesn't behave like one. He tells people lies and tries to influence them with misinformation; he doesn't respect anybody. We started expressing our disaccord with Paroubek by quietly displaying banners and empty egg boxes, and in return we were violently thrown out of the crowd by CSSD security. It happened to me twice, in Kladno and Litomerice.

That's why we decided to start throwing eggs. The first time was in Kolin on the 13th of May. Eggs are an easily accessible weapon -- you can buy them in any grocery store. It was a means to express disagreement without physically harming anyone. The most harm it can cause is to ridicule the victim at hand. That's nothing comparing to what some of the CSSD have done to demonstrators.

The action has many objectives. One is to make political leaders respect voters, and not just in the run-up to elections. Some people say what we're doing is primitive. That's right, it's primitive, but does a common citizen have other means of expressing himself? Mister Paroubek isn't willing to listen to his opponents. If they are students, he tells them to go to a candy store instead or dismisses them as drunkards when they don't wear ties. It's pure insult."