Three people are reported to have been injured in street skirmishes between anarchists and police in the center of Prague on Saturday. An anarchists' demonstration turned ugly following an unexpected confrontation with a group of ultra-right Republicans. Cobblestones flew through the air as police patrols stepped in to restore order. One policeman and two anarchists were injured in the fighting. Nineteen anarchists were detained and two have been charged with assaulting a police officer. Eye-witness say that the anarchists, who were armed with cobblestones and wooden sticks, were aggressive and spoiling for a fight.
The right of center Four Party Coalition is debating its future on the Czech political scene at a weekend conference in Hradec Kralove. The discussion appears to have dashed hopes of the coalition integrating into a single right wing party at some future date. After its success in the Senate and local elections the Four Party Coalition is hoping to break the power sharing deal of the two strongest parties on the Czech political scene the Social Democrats and the Civic Democratic Party. However, political observers say that the task will not be an easy one since they do not share the same political vision. At present they are trying to reach agreement on a fair division of seats in the country's shadow cabinet.
The Czech authorities have taken action to prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease to the Czech Republic. Border crossing points and all airports have been ordered to effect tight security checks. Any food products confiscated from passengers as well as food left-overs from incoming flights from Great Britain and Northern Ireland are to be collected and eliminated at Prague's Bulovka hospital. At Ruzyne Airport all arrivals from Great Britain and Northern Ireland have to pass through a specially set up disinfectant area. The measures were effected on Friday evening.
The governing Social Democrats and the Civic Democratic Party which has kept the minority government in power since the 1998 elections are due to meet for talks next Friday to discuss the future of the controversial opposition agreement. Under the opposition agreement, which is extremely unpopular with the electorate, the right of centre Civic Democrats agreed to keep the Social Democrats' minority government afloat in exchange for budget concessions and key parliament seats.
The two parties have clashed recently on several key issues and the Civic Democrats have warned that if the governing party does not keep its part of the deal it will not get continued support. However the Social Democrats have also hardened their stance, saying that there are limits to the compromises they are prepared to make. Meanwhile, some members of the Four Party Coalition are calling for talks with Social Democrats on the possibility of joining forces if the opposition agreement breaks down.
The Czech Women's Union says it is not prepared to give up International Women's Day despite the public's obvious disinterest in acknowledging the occasion. "We organize our own small celebration every year as a tribute to women and shall continue to do so" the Union's chairwoman Zdenka Hajna told the CTK news agency. She noted that International Women's Day is marked in many countries of the world and seen as an opportunity to bring women's problems and accomplishments out in the open.
In the Czech Republic the vast majority of people still associate International Women's Day with the "command performances and celebrations" of the former communist regime and simply ignore it. On the other hand, St. Valentine's Day and Mothering Sunday have gained immense popularity in the past ten years.
Saturday night should be cold and rainy with nighttime temperatures dropping to two degs below zero. Sunday should be overcast with more scattered showers, and snow in the higher altitudes. Day temps between four and eight degs C.
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