Archive: Foreign policy | NATO

The first of several planned demonstrations protesting the NATO summit have begun in the Czech capital: in Prague's historic centre some four hundred communist supporters came out Wednesday to rally around communist party leader Miroslav Grebenicek; they carried portraits of communist revolutionaries, the Soviet flag, and banners decrying capitalism. Speaking against the alliance, Mr Grebenicek told listeners that there was no justification for NATO's existence, and equated NATO strikes against Yugoslavia in 1999 with "war crimes". He also called it a disgrace that the NATO summit was being held in Prague at all.

Elsewhere thirty left-wing demonstrators gathered at a Prague square earlier in the day in protest of the summit: an organiser from one protest group, the Initiative Against War, told reporters the demonstration decried the possible military action looming over Iraq. He added his organisation was against violence of any kind. These protesters later joined the communists, making their way throughout the city singing songs and shouting slogans; some of the protestors wore scarves partially covering their faces. Police looked on but did not have to intervene as both demonstrations took place without any violent incidents

Meanwhile, one more protest taking place Wednesday evening is a gathering of anarchists who are using noise to protest the summit outside one of its venues, Prague's Obecni dum, the historic Municipal House, where Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda is holding a special dinner for delegation members in Prague due to the summit. A strong police presence has made itself felt since early in the day, the area is completely blocked off, but police have not had to intervene. A little over two hundred anarchist protestors have gathered so far, beating drums, and using other instruments to cause as much noise as possible. Loudspeakers, delivered by a small truck, have been set-up some three hundred metres from the historic building; so far the protest has gone peacefully. Dozens of photographers, journalists, and TV crews are also at the scene. The anarchists are said to be protesting what they call politicians' disdain to world hunger.