Solidarity Messages from Czech Activists to Occupy Oakland

Categories: Discussion, Front Page, Open Mic

Two activists who have been supporting Occupy Oakland have just come back from a trip to Ostrava, Czech Republic. They visited Přednádraží, a street where mostly Roma residents have been resisting forced evictions. They also met with local activists and organized a screening of Occupy the Bay documentary.

During the GAs in December, members of Occupy Oakland recorded solidarity messages that were shared with the community at Přednádraží, as well as with activists who support them.


Occupy Oakland Members Solidarity Message to Přednádraží in Ostrava, Czech Republic

Several messages were also recorded for Occupy Oakland in the Czech Republic.


The first message is from Věra Roubalová-Kostlánová and František Kostlán, human rights activists residing in Prague, who have been involved in supporting the Roma Civil Rights struggle as well as resistance against the communist dictatorship prior to 1989.

Message from Czech Activists to Occupy Oakland – Prague, December 28, 2012

Věra Roubalová-Kostlánová is a signatory of the Charter 77, an important declaration that was demanding respect for human rights from the communist regime. Her husband, František Kostlán, is a journalist documenting hate crimes and discrimination of the Roma. He works for, a website providing news on the Roma Civil Rights struggle in the Czech Republic.


The second message is from Kumar Vishwanathan, a director and chair of the board of Vzájemné soužití (Life Together), a organization focused on empowering the Roma community and promoting their civil rights.

Roma Rights Activist Kumar Vishwanathan from Ostrava, Czech Republic

Kumar Vishwanathan has been personally involved in supporting the resistance against forced evictions at Přednádraží since its start in August 2012.


The third message is from Jan Bandy , a community organizer at Přednádraží. Jan Bandy has acted as a community representative in meetings with city officials and media, as well as one of the leaders of building repairs at Přednádraží.

Prednadrazi – A Roma Neighborhood Eviction Story – Ostrava, Czech Republic

He provides a testimony about the situation there and his motivations for the resistance. More information about Přednádraží including how you can support them can be found at the new Roma Solidarity website.


The photos taken at Přednádraží during the December trip can be found at flickr at Daniela Kantorova.


The one week trip to Ostrava was pretty busy because the activists also organized a screening of the Occupy the Bay documentary (see trailer here) in co-operation with Ostrava’s branch of ProAlt, an organization focused on civil liberties. Occupy activists they managed to obtain a pre-release copy of the film from the producer, and screened it almost in its entirety, with pauses for questions and additional explanations to accomodate the audience where not everyone spoke English (post about the screening in Czech). The event received positive feedback, and one of the members of the audience sent a follow up email to thank the organizers, saying that it is amazing that such an event would take place in their city, that they feel inspired, and appreciate the atmosphere of the event as well as the information conveyed.


Many comrades in the Czech Republic are very interested in the work of Occupy Oakland and send their greetings of solidarity and support. If you are interested to learn more about the eviction struggle at Přednádraží or if you are interested to help, you can contact thehoopoe [at]



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