DIY Carnival 3.5 in Prague, partly a street rave, partly a protest against the prime minister Paroubek and minister Bublan, who still don’t want to give in after the messed up Czechtek party, was pretty good. Photos are here.
I have come to Vltavska metro station to take a tram up to Hradcanska and then go by foot to Strahov, where the carnival should start. Since there was a football match this evening on Letna, there were a few young guys who came out of the metro with me. Outside on the tram station, we heard a cry and about 200 bald fans of FC Banik Ostrava appeard running to the station around a corner. As they spotted the Prague fans, they went straight for them and started beating them up. You could hear sirens and police cars started to arrive in large numbers. What a start for the carnival. Since I wasn’t dressed like a football fan, the violence swept past me without anyone taking notice of me or any of the other people waiting for the tram, and so I went to Strossmayerovo Namesti and took a tram across Letna to Hradcanska. I was a bit afraid I might encounter more “fans” on the way, and I did, but without any incidents.
I went from Hradcanska to Strahov, and from a distance I could hear overlapping beats of the soundsystems. Masks were often very nice, as you can see in the pictures, some of them were really funny or original (like the snowsleigh, dragged behind a car, metal on which got so hot from the friction that smoke started coming from the wooden part of it). The parade was more then a kilometer long, and went from Strahov down to the river, through the city center and onto the Stvanice island, where it ended. It was quite a walk.
Police took control of traffic, sometimes diverting it and letting it mix with the parade on main crossings in the center. Most drivers were obviously having fun watching us go by, tourists in buses passing along cheered, people were coming out of shops and houses, sometimes joining the parade. Atmosphere was great and I believe whoever joined had a good time. You could see some drunk people, but there weren’t as many of them as we had feared before. At the Stvanice island the music went on for some time.
The atmosphere was similar to the atmosphere on the demonstrations during the summer (reason for them was police action against the Czechtek teknival, worth checking out), but it wasn’t some kind of rigid political protest – it was more like a show what this subculture is about, and although I don’t think it got to all the prejudiced people, who support the police actions, I thing it did have an effect. Despite the fact, that there was almost no media coverage whatsoever – which is unbelievable, for several thousand people marched loudly through the center of Prague, but true. Anyway. Hope to see you next time.