News

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Almost 400 individuals detained by police on day of planned illegal march

Czech police have revealed that a total of 396 individuals – 96 of them foreign nationals – were detained in Prague on Saturday in connection to an illegal demonstration in the city. Right-wing extremists had threatened to march through the city’s historic Jewish quarter on the anniversary of Kristallnacht – the Nazi pogrom which targeted Jews in Germany in 1938. But the radicals showed up in lesser numbers than expected and failed to go ahead with the event in the face of a strong police presence: some 1,600 officers. Throughout the day right-wing extremists were arrested in a number of locations in the city, after clashing with police. Some were detained after police found them carrying concealed weapons, including batons and homemade explosives.

According to the numbers now revealed, around 200 individuals were charged with misdemeanours; three extremists were charged with assault on a police officer.

Skirmishes between skinheads and anarchists brutal but isolated

Despite the failure by right-wing radicals to march on Saturday, a number of skirmishes between neo-Nazis and anarchist groups did break out. In one incident a skinhead fired an air pistol into a crowd, injuring one. There were fears the city might see more clashes between skinheads and anarchists, but the situation calmed considerably by mid-evening.

Estimates by Prague’s Mayor Pavel Bem set the figure of right-wing extremists in Prague on Saturday at around 300-400. The Neo-Nazis were outnumbered by leftist radicals, who numbered around 1,000. On Saturday evening Mr Bem praised the police for their handling of the situation, indicating they had done an exemplary job in preventing the neo-Nazi march from going ahead.

Heavy snowfall complicates situation on Czech roads

Heavy snowfall in parts of the Czech Republic has complicated the situation on some roads. The region of Liberec, north Bohemia has seen strong snowfall leading to minor accidents and crashes. The region has warned drivers to not get behind the wheel unless necessary. Vysocina (the Czech-Moravian highlands) has also seen ten centimetres of new snow. In places trucks have had difficulty in hills, resulting in blocked routes and long delays.

Icy conditions likely responsible for crash, death

In related news, icy conditions are likely to have been a factor in a car crash in southern Bohemia that killed the driver, but spared five fellow passengers: two women and three children. The car went off the road and hit a tree at high speed, the director of local emergency services said. The other adults in the car suffered injuries; they and the children in the vehicle were taken to hospital for treatment.

Svejnar expresses interest in debating Klaus – were he to run for president

Economist Jan Svejnar has indicated that if he were to run for the office of the president, he would be interested in debating incumbent Vaclav Klaus on television. He said as much during a news programme on Czech TV on Sunday. Mr Svejnar pointed to differences between the two men on issues such as global warming, the economy, or approach to democracy. According to a recent STEM poll for the daily Pravo, 28 percent of the population said they would vote for Mr Svejnar given the chance, something the economist said he viewed as a positive sign as he is less known than Mr Klaus. Mr Svejnar has dual citizenship and divides his time between the Czech Republic and the US. Under the current system the Czech presidential election is not decided by the public but by MPs and senators in Parliament.

Trestikova film awarded prize for Best European Documentary in Seville

A full-length feature by filmmaker Helena Trestikova entitled “Marcela” has been awarded the prize for Best European Documentary at the Seville Film Festival. Trestikova’s film is the first Czech production to be given the prize. “Marcela” follows the life of Czech Marcela Haverlandova, originally a subject of Trestikova’s TV documentary cycle “Marriage Stories”. Trestikova began filming her when Haverlandova married in 1980 at the age of 20, and returned to her periodically over the years. Mrs Haverlandova’s story – one of overcoming personal tragedy – evoked a strong response from many Czech viewers when it was first broadcast in 2006.

Spotakova named “Czech Athlete of the Year”

Women’s javelin world champion Barbora Spotakova has been named Czech “Athlete of the Year”. The survey pools votes from organisers, specialists in the field of sport, and journalists. Spotakova won with 1,187 votes - 46 ahead of last year’s winner decathlon world champion Roman Sebrle. It is the first time Ms Spotakova has been named top Czech athlete.

Football: Sirl goal sees Petrograd crowned Russian league champions

Czech footballer Radek Sirl scored the lone goal for Zenit Petrograd against Saturn Moscow Oblast to see his team crowned Russian league champions. The win kept Petrohrad just atop the Russian Premier League standings, two points ahead of nearest rival Spartak Moscow.

NHL ice hockey: Prospal “first star” in Sharks v. Capitals game

Tampa Bay forward Vaclav Prospal was named the first star in a game between the Sharks and the Washington Capitals in NHL ice hockey action on Saturday. Prospal scored one goal and notched up two assists in his team’s 5:2 win.

In other action, Martin Erat lifted Nashville over Columbus by scoring the final penalty in a 4:3 shoot-out.

Weather

The start of week could see drizzling rain with a mix of sleet in places. Daytime temperatures are expected to reach highs of just 2 degrees Celsius.