Czechs tighten security at RFE headquarters

An armoured personnel carrier at the RFE building

Czech authorities have tightened security at the United States embassy and the headquarters of the U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe in the centre of Prague. Armoured personnel carriers and elite troops have been deployed outside Radio Free Europe to protect the building from terrorists as the United States prepares for possible military action against Afghanistan. Jan Velinger reports:

Two armoured personnel carriers have been deployed at the Radio Free Europe building just across the street from Prague's Wenceslas Square, and road blocks were erected in the streets around the building. The area is even attracting the attention of tourists, as they make their way into the city centre.

The Czech defence and interior ministers ordered the heavy security to protect the office building from terrorists, who they fear may target RFE for broadcasting news to regions affected by a possible military operation against Afghanistan, although Radio Free Europe does not broadcast to Afghanistan itself.

In a separate development, a no-flight zone above the Czech Republic's only active nuclear power station in Dukovany in Moravia was violated twice on Friday and Saturday. In both cases, private sport planes flew within the 20 kilometre no-flying perimeter of the Dukovany plant without clearance from the nearby Namest nad Oslavou military airport. In both cases jet fighters were deployed to control the situation. While one of the pilots got in radio contact with the Namest's ground crew and followed instructions to land in the city of Brno, the other intruder was pushed out of the flight-free zone by the military aircraft.

Authorities say the Dukovany power station has been constructed so that it would withstand a collision with a standard military fighter jet.