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AFTER 21 DAYS, CIVIL SOCIETY PICKS UP JANS' HUNGER STRIKE

Jan Tamas and Jan Bednar will end their 21 day hunger strike on midnight of June 2nd. Czech personalities will continue their battle against Star Wars' in Prague on 24 hour symbolic fasts. In the rest of Europe, as well as in Australia and the US, other hunger strikes are continuing. European spokesperson for New Humanism, Giorgio Schultze has begun yesterday in Milan and is determined to take the issue to the European Parliament. Protests continue in the 30 cities which have answered the call from the heart of Europe.

Following, the declaration of the two Jans':

"Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the last 21 days for their solidarity, their gifts and their strong moral support. We believe that through this action we will please everyone who has called on us to terminate our hunger strike. The last three weeks have been both very difficult and strengthening, and this has been an unforgettable experience for both of us.

21 days ago we started this hunger strike because a small group of individuals decided to drive our country into a very dangerous Star Wars project, which, although presented as a defensive project only, is actually intended for offensive purposes according to US government sources. This is the reason why Canada rejected participation in this project in 2005. This small group of individuals is about to sign a contract with the USA, which effectively means another invasion by a foreign army into our country. This is all happening despite the disagreement of two thirds of Czech citizens who have been given no possibility to express their opinions either in elections or in a referendum.

We have been on this hunger strike for 21 days, however we have not received any clear signal either of a referendum or of a termination of negotiations. Neither has any real democratic discussion, which we called for, been opened. Everything indicates that even if we were to continue our hunger strike, the government would still ignore us, and our damaged health or death would not change their arrogance.

On the other hand we have received many signals from different people from our country and abroad. Many of them have asked us to terminate the hunger strike with the idea of carrying on this fight on our behalf. On an international level, for example Dennis Kucinich, member of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, continues fighting, as well as the US Green Party presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney. Here in the EU we have a meeting on this topic with the vice-president of the European Parliament, Luisa Morgantini next Thursday, who has promised to open a discussion on this topic in the European parliament. Today, Giorgio Schultze, the spokesperson for New Humanism in Europe, who is starting an open-ended hunger strike with the aim of getting a clear EU statement on this US plan, takes the relay baton from us into Europe. Apart from this, hunger strikes to support our struggle are on going in Australia, the USA, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Today at midnight we will suspend our hunger strike, however, a chain hunger strike will start in our country at the same time, when various people covering the whole social spectrum will be symbolically fasting for 24 hours. Tomorrow, a dissident, former Charter 77 and Independent Movement Activist, Peter Uhl will strike for us. In the following days the relay will be taken over by, among others, the sociologist Jan Keller, artist Anna Geislerova, senator Alena Gajduskova, member of the Czech Academy of Science Petr Pokorny, Member of Parliament Olga Zubova, journalist Jakub Patocka, artist Lenka Vlasakova, radio editor Jeronym Janicek, and many others. Right now we know that artists, singers, trade unionists, dissidents, academics, politics, scientists, ecologists and otherssupport the hunger strike.

All of you, who agree with our protest, can help us to spread it further and join the 22nd June one-day worldwide hunger strike against the Star Wars system, part of which is the planned base in the Czech Republic. This protest is the reaction to our hunger strike, and it is its strong follow-up on a world-wide level. It is already clear that people from all continents will participate.

Through the chain hunger strike we are proposing the same thing that we proposed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs last Thursday: to suspend the radar negotiations for one year.

To place or not to place the radar in the Czech Republic is a historical decision, which should be made only after a wide public discussion with the agreement of a majority of citizens. However, making such a decision in this poisonous atmosphere full of mistrust would negatively influence Czech society for a long time. Hope for freedom and real democracy, which we gained after the Velvet Revolution, would be changed again to a feeling of mistrust in institutions, a feeling of helplessness and betrayal.

A similarly negative atmosphere dominates in the EU, where there is a strong opinion that this plan divides Europe.

This project has many opponents in the USA and even members of Congress have put several conditions on the financing of this project. All this is happening while support for President Bush is very low both in the USA and in other places of the world. Why the big hurry then?

Therefore we suggest suspending negotiations for one year, to open a deeper discussion on this topic within the Czech Republic, to get the position of the EU on this plan, and to wait for the position of the new US administration.

We call on all the people who disagree with this plan to show their disagreement, not to stay silent, and to start being active.Because "democracy" is not just a word, putting a vote into a ballot box once every four years, democracy is about the active participation of every individual. "Minding one's own business" is not enough; there is a need to take an interest in what is going on in society, and to actively create the society.

We thank once again everyone for their support, and we also thank all the journalists for their attention and respect, which they have devoted to this topic. "

Jan Tamas
Jan Bednar
Humanist Movement
www.nonviolence.cz