Zeman Calls For Removal of Security Checks at Prague Castle

Zeman wrote that the security checks, introduced in the summer of 2016, were no longer appropriate or in line with citizens’ interests. Photo credit: Zenon Moreau.

Prague, Nov 9 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman has asked Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) to remove or reduce the security checks at Prague Castle, the seat of the Czech President. The request was made in an open letter from Zeman to Rakusan, published on the Presidential Office website yesterday.

Zeman wrote that the security checks, introduced in the summer of 2016, were no longer appropriate or in line with citizens’ interests.

“I do not think the current situation, in which visitors must undergo checks, even if they only want to walk in the Royal Garden or the Deer Moat, is correct or in line with citizens’ interests,” the letter said.

“Also, it is impossible to tolerate any longer the depreciation of the historically valuable areas of Prague Castle by checkpoints and barriers,” Zeman said.

In late October, the Presidential Office said it was speaking with the police about the mitigation of security checks at the entry to some parts of Prague Castle.

The aim is that visitors will not have to undergo checks when going to the Royal Garden or the Deer Moat, said Jan Novak, head of the Presidential Office administrative section.

Zeman’s letter said that until now he has not criticised the checks at the entry to Prague Castle, hoping that they would be reduced or removed after some time.

He said he had lost trust in the need for the checks to remain, and criticised the police for changing their position on the issue in a short time.

In January, Rakusan asked the police to revise “all security measures that had created a sort of wartime fortification around Prague Castle.”

Rakusan said a plan had been prepared to reduce the outer measures and increase protection inside the Prague Castle.

After the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in early February, the security forces decided that it was not the right time to reduce the security measures.

Rakusan said in March the “reduced model” could only be discussed after the end of the Russian war against Ukraine.

Zeman said that if the measures were to make sense, the public must approach them with understanding and trust their common sense, which he said was not so currently.

“This is why I am asking you to provide for a thorough revision of the measures of the Czech police outside Prague Castle in the sense of my previous statements, and to present a rapid proposal to remove or reduce them,” Zeman said.

Rakusan said in reaction to Zeman’s letter that he welcomed that Zeman had decided to support the openness of the Prague Castle at the end of his term in office.

He said he had sought this the whole time he held the post of minister.

“At first, it looked promising, but then it was frustrated by the war in Ukraine,” Rakusan said.

“The decision to cancel the checks at the Prague Castle is fully within police powers. I believe that the situation both here and abroad will soon improve so that the checks may be abolished,” he added.

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