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Prague Daily Monitor (Czech Republic)

Hundreds of People Protest in Prague Against US Radar Base


Prague - Hundreds of people came to Prague's Wenceslas Square yesterday to protest against the signature of the treaty on stationing a U.S. radar base on Czech soil and the following march to Prague Castle.0709 01 1

The treaty was signed in Prague today by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her Czech counterpart Karel Schwarzenberg.

The police estimated the number of protestors at 1800 while the organisers from the No to Bases group speak about 3000 people.

The Prague police spokeswoman told CTK no incident has been reported during the demonstration.

During the unannounced march the participants blocked traffic at some places of Prague for several tens of minutes.

Close to Prague Castle the riot police blocked the demonstrators' access to the area around Prague Castle and the Foreign Ministry where a reception was held in Rice's honour in of the palaces in the neighbourhood.

No to Bases spokesman Jan Tamas tried to break through the police barrier and hand over a letter for Rice, but failed.

He said he will therefore try to hand it to the U.S. embassy together with a gift - a piece of barbed wire from the site of the future radar base.

The demonstrators shouted slogans like "Shame to the government," "We do not want the radar here," "We will not be silent," "Topolanek out."

Topolanek is Czech prime minister.

Tamas said protests will continue and that the activists will try in parliament to prevent the building of the base.

To take effect, the treaty is to be ratified by parliament and signed by the Czech President.

The demonstrators called for a referendum to be held on the radar base. They said some 100,000 people have signed a referendum petition, and that seven million out of the ten million Czech citizens are opposed to the base.

The protest action brought together Communists, Greens as well as anarchists. Jan Neoral, mayor of Trokavec, a village close to the site of the future radar base, was also present.

Communists (KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip and Social Democrat Jan Kavan, former foreign minister and former U.N. General Assembly President, were looking on the protest action.

The Prague demonstration was supported by several tens of people outside the Czech embassy in Warsaw.

They also called for a referendum to be held on the stationing of the other part of the U.S. anti-missile system in Europe - interceptor missiles in Poland.

Copyright 2008 by the Czech News Agency (ÄŒTK)

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