Czech interior minister urges regions to avoid fireworks after Prague shooting

As the country still recovers from the horrors of last Thursday's massacre, Vít Rakušan urged people to not increase public nervousness and unease.


Written by ČTK Published on 28.12.2023 11:29:00 (updated on 28.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan has asked municipalities nationwide to not hold New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations this year due to last week’s tragic mass shooting in Prague and a double homicide in a forest, which killed 16 innocent people. In a letter sent to mayors, he made a “personal plea” for sensitivity during a still-tense time for the public.

Showing respect to others

“A few days ago, we experienced two acts of violence involving shootings. The least we can do for those who have been painfully affected by these events is not to increase nervousness and not to deepen the trauma left by the violence,” Rakušan wrote on social media site X

“I would be grateful if you would consider my plea. Let us wish for a peaceful 2024 if possible and celebrate its arrival in a similar spirit,” he also said.

Do you think Czech regions should ban their fireworks shows on Dec. 31?

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Yes, and people shouldn't be allowed to use fireworks for private use either 46 %
No 37 %
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Acknowledging the symbolic significance of welcoming the New Year, Rakušan noted that there were alternative ways to celebrate the arrival of 2024 without resorting to traditional firecrackers, cannons, and rockets. He expressed hope that the public, alongside municipal leaders, would comprehend and endorse this appeal. However, it is not a legal directive, but rather a suggestion.

Olomouc calls off display

Already, the Olomouc town hall responded by canceling scheduled New Year's Eve fireworks, citing not only the tragic events in Prague but also concerns regarding the hydrological situation in the region, which prompted a meeting of the flood commission.

"We have decided to postpone the fireworks to a more suitable date," stated the Olomouc town hall representative, indicating a proactive shift in plans to honor the Rakušan’s plea while considering additional local circumstances.

Prague already decided on fireworks

The center of Prague even before the Dec. 21 shooting decided to again cancel its annual fireworks display, citing environmental concerns and disturbances caused to local pets and wildlife. Local authorities have also prohibited fireworks from being set off in the historic center of Prague and areas with a high concentration of people (such as Wenceslas Square). 

Police can impose a fine of up to CZK 100,000 can be imposed for violating this decree, and they can also issue a fine of CZK 10,000 on the spot.

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