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Guide to Prague

This guide is organized into two sections: what you need to know as a tourist (
accommodation, places to eat and relax, exchange rates, public transport, telephones, borders and visas , embassies) and what you need to know as an activist (legal and medical information).

What you need to know as a tourist:

ACCOMMODATION

There are many affordable accommodation spots in and around Prague, the majority being hostels, campgrounds, hotels, squats, homestays, and a "tent city" set up specially for the event of the IMF and WB protests. However, with the combination of IMF and WB visitors and the protestors of the meetings, the city is well-booked. Book as early as possible to guarantee that you have a place to stay.

INPEG has an accommodation working group and may be able to find camp sites for large groups. To see if they can find a place for your group, write to pragueaccom@yahoo.com and include your dates of arrival and departure, how many people are in your group, and how much money you can afford to spend. INPEG accommodation cannot reserve rooms or beds for individuals.

Locations are listed below:

Camping

www.fam.cz Tenting at Strahov Stadium. This tent city is organized by a private company and was set up specifically to accommodate mass amounts of protestors. The Stadium is a safe place to stay and will be complete with hot showers, food and drink, and internet access.

Camp Sokol Troja, Trojska 171a, Prague 7. phone 854-29-08.

Hostels

Express, Skorepka 5, phone 2421-1801.

Hostel Advantage, Sokolska, Prague 12000. phone 2491-4067, fax 2491-4062.

Hostel Boathaus, V naklich 1A, Slavoj-Wesico. phone 402-1076.

Hostel Jednota, Opletalova 38, phone 2421-1773.

Hostel Sokol, on a courtyard on Vsehrdova. phone 5700-7397.

Hostel Spoas, Jankovcova 63a, phone 80-48-91.

Hostel Strahov Estec, Vanickova 5, Block 5, Prague 6. phone 52-73-44, fax 52-73-43.

Hotel Standart, Pristanni 2, Prague 17000. phone 87-52-58, fax 80-67-52.

Kolej Petrska, Petrska 3, phone 231-6430.

Libra Q Hostel, Senovazne namesti, phone 2210-5536.

Pension Amadeus, Slavojova 108/8, phone 692-7321.

Pension Kosicka, Kosicka 12, phone 7174-2483.

TJ Sokol Karlin, Maleho 1, phone 231-5132.

Homestays

Homestays are offered informally at international arrival train stations, and usually, but not always, by honest people trying to make a buck. Be sure to find out where they are located before you agree to rent a room, as many are situated well outside of the city center.

RESTAURANTS, CAFES and BARS

Below is a basic list of good eating, drinking and relaxing spots. Czech pub food is mostly made up of meat, potatoes and fried cheese, so we’ve also noted restaurants that offer vegetarian dishes.

Bohemia Bagel, Ujezd 16, Prague 1. phone 530-921. A good place for bagel sandwiches and internet access (1 Kc a minute).

Country Life, Melantrichova 15, closed weekends. An organic food store that boasts a good restaurant located behind the shop.

The Globe, Pstrossova. phone 6671-2610. Open 10 am to midnight, this ex-patriot hangout offers good food at reasonable prices, a superb english book shop, and free internet access although the wait can often be longer than the half-hour time limit. Vegetarian dishes available.

Govinda Vegetarian Club, Soukenicka 27. phone 2481-6016. Hare Krishna run, this is a great, cheap vegetarian restaurant, open from 11 am to 5 pm. Most of the food is grown on their organic farm outside of town.

Klub Architektu, Betlemske namesti 5. phone 6150-1760. Restaurant that offers Czech and vegetarian dishes from noon to midnight daily.

Lizard, Londynska. Take the metro to I.P. Pavlova, walk up the hill and take your second left on to Londynska. A down to earth hard drinking establishment that offers hip hop and reggae nights. Located below a laundrette.

Lotos, Platnerska 13. phone 232-2390. All vegetarian menu, open until midnight.

Mayur Snack Bar, Stepanska 61. phone 2422-6737. Curries and tandoori meats at reasonable prices at the snack bar, the restaurant inside is more expensive.

Radost FX, Belehradska 120, Prague 2. phone 2425-4776. Near I.P. Pavlova metro stop. A little more expensive than other Prague restaurants but it serves great food and some vegetarian dishes.

U knihomola, Manesova 79. phone 627-7767. A bookstore and cafe that serves coffee, sweets and light meals, including vegetarian dishes.

Velryba (The Whale), Opatovicka. Good vegetarian and non-vegetarian food in a back-street hip and artsy hang-out with a gallery. Cheap prices for food; city-center prices for drinks.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE

The Czech currency is the Koruna ( Kc) or crown. Exchange rates are around the following:

Currency   Koruna (Kc)
Canada $ 1.00 25 Kr
France FF 1. 00 5.4 Kr
Germany DM 1.00 18 Kr
Great Britain � 1.00 52 Kr
United States $ 1.00 32 Kr

For exchanging money, banks tend to offer the best deal and generally charge 2% commission. Exchange centers on tourist routes often charge up to 10% commission. If you are using American Express or Thomas Cook travelers checks, you will get a good exchange rate with no commission at their offices. ATM machines are scattered around Prague and for bank cards the commission is much lower than for credit card withdrawals.The best advice is to look around. It hardly needs saying but refuse to exchange money with anyone who approaches you on the street.

American Express, Wenceslas Square 56. phone 2421-9992.

Ceska sporitelna banka, Na prikope 29. phone 2422-9268.

Thomas Cook, Narodni 28 and Staromestske namesti 5. phone 2110-5272, 2481-7173.

Zivnostenska banka, Na prikope 20. phone 2412-1111.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Prague may have one of the best public transportation systems in the world. You can get almost anywhere day or night by cheap, clean, punctual and safe metro, buses or trams.

You can buy tickets from yellow machines in the subways, newsstands, tabacco kiosks. Listed below are the different ticket options.

8 Kr 15 minute tram or bus, 4 metro stops. Non transferable. Not valid on night buses or night trams.
12 Kr one hour, weekdays 5am-8pm

90 minutes, 8pm-12pm and weekends

Unlimited transfers.
70 Kr day pass Unlimited travel all day.
180 Kr 3-day pass Unlimited travel.
250 Kr weekly pass Unlimited travel, passport photo needed. Available from certain ticket outlets only.
280 Kr 15 day pass Unlimited travel, passport photo needed. Available from certain ticket outlets only.

Buy tickets before you travel and validate them in a yellow time clock before you enter the system. Anyone riding the transportation system without a valid ticket will be fined on-the-spot for 400 Kr.

As for bikes, there are quite a few bikes but very few cycle lanes.

TELEPHONES

There are two types of public phones in Prague: card and change phones. Phones that take cards greatly outnumber the change phones, so it’s a good idea to purchase a phone card as soon as you arrive in town. They’re on sale for a minimum of 175 Kr (50 credits) at most tobacco kiosks, newsstands and any other place that displays the blue and yellow Telecom sticker.

There is a much cheaper option to calling home in the way of the THINK Smartcard. The card costs 500 Kr and is available at many ex-patriot hangouts like the Globe and Bohemian Bagel, also at Country Life the organic shop noted above. They’ll save you around 50% (compared to Czech Telecom rates) on calling to every country in the world (except Burma). You will however still need a Telecom phone card or a home phone to access the THINK number.

Public phones are cost-effective when calling other wall phones; when calling mobile phones, they eat credits. You may want to consider buying a mobile phone in Prague if you’ll be calling many other Czech mobile phones. They cost around 2,000 Kr for the phone and 1,300 Kr for the initial calling card.

Here are some international dialing codes, dial your normal national number after these:

Australia 00 61
Canada 00 1
Ireland 00 353
UK 00 44
US 00 1

Here are some emergency toll-free phone numbers in Prague:

First Aid 155
Czech Police 158
Prague City Police 156
Fire 154

BORDER AND VISA INFORMATION

All visitors to the Czech Republic need a valid passport, a valid visa (if your country requires one), valid health insurance (EU members can simply fill out a form in their home country), and enough money to prove that you can sustain yourself during your time in the Czech Republic. Persons from Canada, the US and most Western European countries do not need a visa to enter the Czech Republic, but persons from the East and South usually do. Contact your embassy for more information.

The authorities can deny you entry into the Czech Republic if you are an undesirable person or if you use force in promoting political aims, or if your activities are dangerous for the basis of a democratic state or you repeatedly frustrate legal rules or enforcement of judgements. Therefore, looking less radical could potentially make or break your entrance into the Czech Republic. If you do have any problems at the boarder, please immediately contact INPEG with as much detail as possible so we can warn other visiting demonstrators.

EMBASSIES

Country Address and phone number Contact details for visas (if different)
Australia Na Orechovce 38, 162 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 2431 0071

Fax (02) 2431 0743

 
Austria Viktora Huga 10, 151 15 Praha 5

Tel (02) 570 905 11

Fax (02) 5731 6045

Tel (02) 5732 1282

Fax (02) 5731 6045

Belgium Valdsteinska 6 118 00 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5732 0389

Fax (02) 5732 0753

 
Canada Mickiewiczova 6, 125 33 Praha 6

Tel (02) 7210 1800

Fax (02) 7210 1894

Tel (02) 7210 1840
Croatia  V pruhledu 9, 162 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 312 0479, 3335 5695

Fax (02) 312 3464

 
Denmark Maltezske nam 5, 118 01 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5731 6630

Fax (02) 5731 6640

 
Finland Hellichova 1, 118 00 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5700 7130

Fax (02) 5700 7132

 
France Velkoprevorske nam 2, 118 01 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5753 2756

Fax (02) 5753 2757

Nosticva 10, 118 01 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5753 2756

Fax (02) 5753 2761

Germany Vlassska 19,118 01 Praha1

Tel (02) 5711 3111, 5753 1481

Fax (02) 5753 4056

 
Italy Nerudova 20, 118 00, Praha 1

Tel (02) 5732 0011

Fax (02) 5753 1522

 
Netherlands Gotthardska 6/27, 112 40 Praha 6

Tel (02) 2431 2190

Fax (02) 2431 2160

 
Norway Na Orechovce 69, Praha 6

Tel (02) 3111 1486

 
Poland Valdstejnska 8, 118 01 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5732 0678 81

Fax (02) 5732 0764

Vaclavske nam 49, 110 00 Praha 1

2422 8722 4

Russia Nam. Pod Kastany 1, 160 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 3337 4100

Fax (02) 3337 5358

Rusembas@bohem-net.cz

Korunovacni 34, 160 00 Praha 6

(02) 373 723

Slovakia Pod Hradbami 1, 1600 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 3332 1441 2

Fax (02) 3332 4289

(02) 3332 5443
Spain Pevnostni 9,162 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 2431 1222 1441

Fax (02) 312 1770

 
Sweden PO Box 35, 160 12 Praha 1

Uvoz 13, 110 00 Praha 1

Tel (02) 2031 3200

Fax (02) 2031 3240

 
Switzerland Pevnostni 7, 162 01 Praha 6 PO Box 84

Tel (02) 2431 1228

Fax (02) 2431 1312

 
Ukraine Charlese de Gaulla 29, 160 00 Praha 6

Tel (02) 312 2000

Fax (02) 312 4366

(02) 312 1577
UK Thunovska 14, 118 00 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5732 0355

Fax (02) 5732 1023

 
USA Trziste 15, 118 01 Praha 1

Tel (02) 5753 0663 3814

Fax (02) 5753 0584

 

What you need to know as an activist:

LEGAL

Here is some useful information concerning your rights and responsibilities as a foreigner in the Czech Republic:

-- Foreigners have the same rights as Czech citizens. Differences are possible only if the law (statute) allows them.
-- Foreigners are required to show their passports if requested by the Police, so make sure you carry it on you at all times.
-- Foreigners are required to be patient in the taking of fingerprints or pictures by the Police in connection with administrative action concerning banishment or with finding your identity by the Police.
-- You have the right to "organize peaceful demonstrations, happenings, street actions." (This is interpreted to mean not damaging property or people and not disturbing or restricting another person’s freedom.)
-- If you are arrested then you have the right to an interpreter and proceedings must be in a language that you understand.
-- You have the right not to answer questions or to say nothing.
-- You have the right to a lawyer of your choice. INPEG suggests that an independent lawyer is far better than one appointed to you.
-- You have the right to be not tortured or ill-treated.... (Suggesting beating or mental anguish.)

Rights in Times of Detention

-- In most cases you will be detained for an offence rather than a crime. You can be detained without charge for up to 72 hours but the usual period is about 48 hours. After that you must be either charged for some crime or released.
-- If you are charged for a crime, you can be kept in custody only if there is the possibility that you will leave the country and will not come back, or will influence witnesses, or will commit another crime.
-- In Czech criminal law it is possible to release someone on bail, at a minimum 10 000 Kr. This is not a right but rather a possibility, and depends of the decision of a judge or a prosecutor.
-- If you are detained you have the right to: refuse to answer, this includes giving your name although non-cooperation might not do you any favors; to have an interpreter; to have a lawyer (appointed by you or if not by the Police); to inform someone about your situation; to have a meal every six hours; to refuse to sign anything; to obtain a copy but on your own costs; and to propose evidence, witnesses.

Advice for Demonstrators

-- It is prohibited to carry a weapon in a demonstration in the Czech Republic. The Criminal Act defines weapon as anything that can be used to attack body or property. The carrying of a weapon will usually be charged as an offence.
-- The possession of any kind of drug can be committing a crime in the Czech Republic.
-- Czech law does not criminalize the wearing of masks but INPEG suggests wearing a carnival mask.
-- A police officer is not considered as a public official if he or she has no identification number.

Legal Help in Time of Protests

There will be basic legal help organized by Czech NGOs including the distribution of legal information and contacts to demonstrators, and the creation of a center for legal advice by professional lawyers and volunteers.

Independent legal observers will also be out on the streets. For more information contact EPS (Ecological law service) at legals@email.cz.

In order to help those arrested as quickly as possible, affinity groups should report any arrests, document any police brutality and take down numbers of arresting police. For detailed information on affinity groups, read Why You Should Join an Affinity Group.

There will also be people at police stations recording details of those arrested. Anyone willing to help or requiring more information can contact legalcz@yahoo.com.

MEDICAL

The information provided here is intended to help you prepare in advance for the action and is not a substitute for the medical trainings that the Prague medic team offers which are quite thorough. We strongly advise that at least one person from each affinity group takes both the first aid training and the protection against chemical weapons training. Contact prahahealth@yahoo.com to find out more information about the workshops or to obtain a detailed list of needed medical supplies if you wish to donate to the team’s first aid kits. Otherwise, see you on the streets!

Here is a basic list of supplies to bring for your first aid kit:

-- as much water as you can carry
-- several pairs of vinyl gloves to protect against blood and pepper spray
-- a Czech phone card for telephone calls
-- paper, pen, duct tape, marker
-- wound care supplies (Band-aids, steri-strips, 2x2 & 4x4 bandages, first aid tape, Bactroban or other antiseptic, ace bandage)
-- chemical weapons decontamination supplies (3 small bottles of canola oil, alcohol, and a solution of liquid antacid/water 1:1 ratio in a spray bottle, lots of gauze sponges or clean rags, stored in several small plastic bags)
-- small tampons (good for nose bleeds)
-- tongue depressors (for splinting)
-- clean clothes in plastic bag (to change into if you get heavily gassed)
-- sun screen or rain gear depending on weather
-- Emergen-C (or other powdered electrolyte mix), Rescue Remedy (good for shock, trauma), snacks, tube of cake icing or hard candy (good for raising blood sugar)
-- aspirin, ibuprofen
-- inhaler, epinephrine, benadryl (for those qualified to use them)
-- several days of your medication incase you get arrested
-- and for women: wear pads rather than tampons to erase your chances of getting toxic shock syndrome while on the streets for many hours

What to Wear

What you bring and wear will largely determine how long you'll be able to stay on the streets. For comfort and protection, wear comfortable, protective shoes that you can run in, clothing that covers most of your skin to protect from sun and pepper spray exposure, shatter-resistent eye protection (sunglasses, swim goggles or gas mask) paired with a respirator or wet bandanna to protect during chemical weapons deployment, and a cap or hat.

What NOT to Wear and Do

-- don't put vaseline, mineral oil, oil-based sunscreen or moisturizers on skin as they can trap and hold chemicals.
-- don't wear contact lenses, which can trap irritating chemicals underneath.
-- don't wear things which can easily be grabbed (i.e.: dangly earrings or other jewelry, ties, loose hair).
-- don't go to the demo alone if you can help it. It is best to go with an affinity group, or some friends who know you well.
-- don't forget to sleep, eat, and drink lots of water.

Read the articles below for detailed preventative information:

Protection Against Tear Gas and Pepper Spray 101

Why You Should Join an Affinity Group