Czech morning news in brief: top headlines for April 30, 2021

Thousands protest Zeman's Russia ties in Prague's Wenceslas Square, Czech gay-marriage law gains early support, and sales of organic food on the rise. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 30.04.2021 09:13:00 (updated on 30.04.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Thousands protest in Prague against Zeman's pro-Russia leanings

Some 20,000 people gathered in Prague's Wenceslas Square Thursday at a demonstration staged by the Million Moments for Democracy group in protest of President Miloš Zeman and other politicians' pro-Russia bias. Similar protests took place in a number of other cities across the Czech Republic organizers said. In a speech, Million Moments chairman Benjamin Roll called on Czech senators to file constitutional lawsuit against President Zeman on suspicion of treason in connection with his comments on the Vrbětice affair. Protesters carried Czech and EU flags and banners reading "Together we are part of the West," "Zeman-traitor," and "We are neither Russia, nor goods."

European Parliament asks EU to expel Russian diplomats

The European Parliament has passed a resolution calling on EU countries to expel Russian diplomats in a coordinated response to the 2014 Vrbětice incident in the Czech Republic. The resolution, passed by the majority of 569 out of 682 MEPs, also condemned Russian threats targeting the Czech Republic in the ensuing diplomatic feud. The MEPs called for tougher sanctions over Moscow's aggressive conduct. The EU should reduce dependence on Russian energy, stop the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, and prevent the Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom to from building nuclear plants in the EU. Gaining the support of all 27 member states could prove problematic as some EU countries stand to benefit from Russian business activities.

Poll: Majority of Czechs mistrust President Zeman

The majority of Czech citizens do not trust President Miloš Zeman, with 45 percent of them saying they mistrust him and 18 percent saying they rather mistrust him, a newly released poll from NMS Market Research shows. Only 22 percent shared the view that Zeman defended Czech interests in the Vrbětice case, while two times more respondents (45 percent) said Zeman appeared to defend Russian interests. The majority of those polled (51 percent) disagree with the president’s stance that Russian involvement in the fatal 2014 Vrbětice explosion has not been sufficiently proven. Twenty-eight percent agree with Zeman on this issue, while the rest said they do not know. People aged 65 and over support Zeman the most on the issue, while those under 35 disagree with him the most.

Czech same-sex marriage law clears another obstacle

The Czech Chamber of Deputies approved in a first draft reading on Thursday a bill in favor of same-sex marriage; it will now be debated by the lower house committees. It is still uncertain whether lawmakers will decide on the bill before the general election that will be held on October 8-9. Around half of European Union countries have same-sex marriage laws. In the Czech Republic, same-sex couples can enter into registered partnerships since 2006. The new bill amends the Civil Code to say marriage is a union of "two persons", instead of "a man and a woman" in the current version.

Czech interest in organic food on the rise

Newly released data from the Czech Ministry of Agriculture indicates that the organic food market grew by 19 percent in 2019. Czechs consumed CZK 5.26 billion worth of organic food with the market growing by 19 percent in 2019. Czech consumers bought the most organic food in retail chains, in supermarkets, and hypermarkets (35%, for a total of CZK 1.8 billion), through health food stores (16.2%, for CZK 851 million), e-shops (15, 2%, for 801 million) and drugstores (15.2%, for 797 million). The most commonly purchased items were coffee and tea, ready-made meals, including baby food and food supplements. Other frequently purchased organic foods are fruits and vegetables (17%) and milk and dairy products (16%).

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