People of all different political persuasions have been attending a series of May Day rallies in towns and cities across the country. In Prague's Letna Plain, a large open-air space where the Communist Party have traditionally held their rallies, several thousand people attended a large anti-Communist gathering. The rally was organised by a group called the Confederation of Political Prisoners, and politicians from several right-of-centre parties spoke to the crowds.
A centuries-old May Day tradition ended in tragedy on Monday when a 20-year-old man was killed by a falling maypole after he and other youths from a neighbouring village cut it down. The tragedy took place in the village of Volduchy, West Bohemia, at around 7am. So far it is unclear whether anyone will be charged with the young man's death.
In other news, the Czech Trade and Industry ministry says the South Korean car-maker Hyundai still intends to go ahead with a new assembly plant in North Moravia despite the arrest last week of the company's chairman Chung Mong-Koo on embezzlement charges. Minister Milan Urban said the signing ceremony would now be held in Seoul, and not the town of Nosovice, where the one-billion-plant will be built. Mr Chung and Hyundai are accused of creating slush funds to pay politicians and officials for business favours.
After being denied their traditional venue, the Communists - who are currently in opposition - held their rally in Prague's 19th century Vystaviste exhibition grounds. An estimated 8,000 mostly elderly Communist supporters gathered at the venue, to hear speeches from leading Communist officials, including party leader Vojtech Filip. Also attending was Milos Jakes, leader of the totalitarian Communist Party until 1989, and Jiri Dolejs, the party's deputy leader who was beaten up last week in what he said was a politically-motivated attack.
Meanwhile a senior official from the government's human rights section says she was beaten and arrested by police during the demonstration. Katerina Jacques, a candidate for the opposition Green Party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, had to be treated in hospital after the incident. Mrs Jacques, who was with her two young children, says she was thrown to the ground, kicked and beaten with a truncheon before being handcuffed and taken away for questioning. Police have refused to comment.
Water levels of some rivers in Moravia have risen extensively following heavy rain on Saturday. Some areas in southern Moravia were put on the highest degree of flood alert. Meteorologists say the worst is over in most parts of the country, where only light showers are expected in the next few days. The Czech Republic is still recovering from a week of heavy flooding, which paralysed many regions earlier this month.
The 43rd international television festival, Golden Prague, opened in the Czech capital's Congress Centre with a concert by the prestigious Bambini di Praga choir on Saturday. The festival will run until May 5 and focuses on music and dance on the television screen. Some 130 contributions from 24 countries are participating this year. Golden Prague is one of the oldest television festivals in the world.
Yemen has received one million US dollars from the Czech government to help sponsor two development projects. The donation was presented by Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda, who is currently on an official visit to the Arab state. The money will be used to supply clean water to Abdal Kuri Island and to recycle water for a hospital on the island of Sokotra.
Jana Sikulova won a silver medal at the European gymnastics championships in Volos, Greece, on Sunday. With a total score of 15.050 on the asymmetric bars (following the introduction of the new gymnastics Code of Points), Jana Sikulova was a point short of Britain's Beth Tweddle. Lenika Di Simone of Spain won bronze. The Czech Republic's second representative, Jana Komrskova, came in fourth. The world championships are being held in Aarhus, Denmark, from Oct 13-21.
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