Former Foreign Minister Describes Shock and Horror During Evacuation Amidst Prague Shooting: 'We Were Told to Get Down Immediately!

Written by Henrik Rothen

Dec.22 - 2023 8:37 AM CET

Photo: X
Photo: X
Former Foreign Minister Describes Shock and Horror.

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Former Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Lubomír Zaorálek, was supposed to give a lecture at the Faculty of Philosophy, Charles University. Instead, he found himself in the midst of terrifying events at Palach Square. Clearly shaken and in shock, he described to Blesk the horrifying minutes of the incident.

Zaorálek shared on social media X that he was at a loss for words.

"There are no words for this horror. When the police were evacuating us from the building, we had no idea what terrible things were happening on the floor above us. My thoughts are with those whose loved ones will never return home."

When asked if he was among those evacuated, he said,

"I am regularly in that building, which I am very fond of, every week. I was supposed to have a lecture there from 3 pm. But this time, everything was different. At one point, some students wanted to leave, but suddenly they came back saying something was happening. Maybe someone was shooting, or something. We were considering what to do, but we didn't take it seriously, not realizing how serious the situation a few meters from us was. You don't think about it, you think it might just be some threats, which are quite common. Still, I thought we could lock ourselves in. Unfortunately, I found out that we couldn't lock ourselves from the inside. It seemed silly just to wait, but as soon as I went out, I saw police marching down there."

'They shouted at us'

He was asked what happened next.

"They started shouting at me that we had to get down immediately, quickly. I understood that we all should, but there were already many of us in one place, maybe about 30 or more students."

After finally getting out, he was asked what he thought immediately afterward.

"We gradually found out what happened after we got out of the building. We heard the shooting, they shouted at us that we had to move away from the faculty, to the Rudolfinum building. We kept moving somewhere, at least slowly. But we still didn't know what was happening. Only later, it became clear from snippets of conversations that there was an active shooter in the building."

When asked how he was absorbing the horror of the situation, he said,

"The most important and most terrible thing for me is how many of those students will never come home again. Students I used to meet. Especially now, just before Christmas. The horror is still growing in me."

Many found it hard to believe that such a thing could happen in Prague.

"A lot of things will now change forever, in my opinion. Those students and I considered the building of the Faculty of Philosophy safe, now it's something that will probably be different. It's indescribable."

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