Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš addressed the nation on the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the Foundation of Independent Czechoslovakia. In his speech, he recalled the legacy of the first Czechoslovak president and called on everyone to be consistent and to abide by the rules in the fight against coronavirus.
“Please, do something for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please, observe all measures. Please, limit contact with your friends and colleagues. Please, stay home. Hug your wife, husband, partner, children, or parents. Spend the day together, enjoy moments together that are few nowadays. I know it well myself,” said Babiš.
The prime minister also acknowledged that the current restrictions are a strain on the psyche and thanked all citizens who are still able to contribute to the functioning of the state in this difficult time.
“Try to forget for a moment about all the restrictions which, I agree, are a huge strain on our psyche,” he said.
Babiš appreciated the work of teachers, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people, but mainly, he thanked those who are fighting the coronavirus in the front line.
“Thank you, medics, for selflessly fighting for lives in the front line. Thank you, soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, for doing your job, and also thank you to all of you who teach our children. Even though I know that you work in incredibly difficult conditions, being a teacher is now one of the most important professions. I would also like to thank all the parents that they take care of their children who cannot go to school,” Babiš said.
As Oct. 28 is a day of Foundation of Independent Czechoslovakia, Babiš emphasized the importance of first Czechoslovak President Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk for the Czech state.
“Today is a great holiday for our country. It is the 28th of October. It is the day of the foundation of the independent Czechoslovak state. Each of us will honor the memory of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the greatest figure in our modern history,” Babiš stated in his speech.
The national holiday on October 28 is traditionally accompanied by several events, however, most of them were canceled this year due to the coronavirus epidemic.
State officials only laid wreaths at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Prague’s Vítkov. However, politicians came to the memorial individually. President Miloš Zeman was the first to arrive, followed by Senate President Miloš Vystrčil, Chamber of Deputies Vice-Chairman Tomio Okamura, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib, and Archbishop Dominik Duka.
The celebrations usually culminate in a gala evening at Prague Castle, during which the president awards state honors. This year, President Zeman decided to cancel the event.
Title image: Prime Minister Andrej Babiš gives speech to the nation (Andrej Babiš / Facebook)