Opponents of a proposed US radar base in the Czech Republic have announced
that they will be holding an international demonstration against the
construction of the facility in the Brdy region, the projected location of
the base. A spokeswoman for the "No to Bases" movement said that
the protest will take place on 20 October and that delegations from Great
Britain, Portugal, Hungary, Italy, Spain, France, Greece, Switzerland,
Belgium, Germany, the United States and Sweden would be attending the
event. Invitees include the mayor of Hiroshima Tadatoshi Akiba and the
mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
The proposed US radar base in the central Bohemian Brdy region is intended as part of a American missile defence system aimed at countering possible attacks from so-called rogue states such as Iran. Polls show that a majority of Czechs are against the proposal even though it has the tentative support of the centre-right government. A final decision on the base is expected early next year.
Five people were injured following an explosion on a bus on Strelnicna Street in Prague 8. A spokeswoman for the Prague transport authority said that five women were treated in hospital for scald burns after a cooler on a public bus they were travelling on suddenly exploded. The Prague transport authority is investigating the cause of the incident.
Celebrations have been held at Prague's Lucerna Cinema near Wenceslas Square to mark the 100th anniversary of the first ever Czech cinema. The celebrations included screenings of silent films from the early 1900s. Prague's first cinema was opened by the magician Viktor Ponrepo on Karlova Street near the Charles Bridge on 15 September 1907. The Lucerna Cinema, which was the venue for the celebrations, is only two years younger. It opened in 1909 and is the oldest continually operating cinema in Europe.
The head of the Green Party Martin Bursik has admitted that the Education Minister Dana Kuchtova may resign in the coming days. Speaking on a current affairs television programme on Sunday, Mr Busik said that Ms Kuchtova, who is also a member of the Green Party, had "received a yellow card" from him over her inability to obtain EU funds for government educational programmes. The Minister of Education has recently been facing calls to resign over her failure to avail of around 60 billion Czech crowns or 3 billion US dollars in EU money, which could be made available for the ministry's research and development programme. Mr Bursik said that Ms Kuchtova would remain in office if she convinced him that the problems preventing the use of the funds could be rectified.
Small groups of demonstrators protested on Sunday outside the Czech
embassy in Vienna and Czech honorary consulates in Innsbruck, Salzburg,
Sturm Graz and Linz against the Temelin nuclear power plant.
The Temelin plant, situated some 60 kilometres away from the Austrian border, has been widely criticised by certain Austrian politicians as well as Austrian and Czech environmentalists, who claim that it is dangerous.
Meanwhile the Czech Communist Party has announced that it will symbolically blockade the Brdy military district on Friday, according to the Czech Press Agency (CTK). CTK reports that the Communist Party has also sent out a letter to all the mayors of municipalities in the region expressing support for any protest actions they might hold. The Communists are vehemently opposed to the proposed base and have repeatedly called for a referendum on the issue.
Around 60,000 people attended a special NATO Day at Ostrava airport on Saturday. Those in attendance were treated to a showcase of military technology from seven NATO armies, including the British air force's new Eurofighter Typhoon F2. It was the first time the annual NATO Day was held in central and eastern Europe. Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek was among the dignitaries at the event.
Jet-ski owners symbolically blocked the Vltava River in Prague for several minutes on Saturday afternoon in protest against a planned amendment to the law on inland navigation, which would ban certain vessels from water courses, including jet-skis. The protesters were also demonstrating against a proposal to introduce charges for recreational navigation on the country's waterways, which has been free up to now.
Around 300 Czech police and other members of the security forces protested
in the centre of Prague on Saturday in protest at the so-called
"Service Law". The demonstration was organised by police unions,
who claim that the law, which has been in effect since the start of the
year, leaves many police officers worse off. Their principal grievances
include the fact that the law abolished many bonus payments for overtime
work and for working on state holidays and weekends. The Czech Minister for
the Interior Ivan Langer denies that the law has had a detrimental effect
on police salaries and maintains that the wages of 94 percent of police
officers have increased since the legislation was introduced.
The turnout was a lot lower than expected, but protest organisers claim that the attendance would have been much higher if some police had not been assigned to a special traffic-safety operation. They also said that the number of people protesting was also affected by the fact that a lot of extra police were on duty amid security concerns surrounding a first-division football match between Slavia Prague and Banik Ostrava on Saturday evening.
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