News

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Large anti-Communist rally held on Prague's Letna Plain

People of all different political persuasions have been attending a series of May Day rallies in towns and cities across the country. In Prague's Letna Plain, a large open-air space where the Communist Party have traditionally held their rallies, several thousand people attended a large anti-Communist gathering. The rally was organised by a group called the Confederation of Political Prisoners, and politicians from several right-of-centre parties spoke to the crowds.

Evicted from Letna, Communists meet at Vystaviste

After being denied their traditional venue, the Communists - who are currently in opposition - held their rally in Prague's 19th century Vystaviste exhibition grounds. An estimated 8,000 mostly elderly Communist supporters gathered at the venue, to hear speeches from leading Communist officials, including party leader Vojtech Filip. Also attending was Milos Jakes, leader of the totalitarian Communist Party until 1989, and Jiri Dolejs, the party's deputy leader who was beaten up last week in what he said was a politically-motivated attack.

Minor clashes between neo-Nazis, anti-fascist demonstrators

Elsewhere in Prague several hundred neo-Nazi youths attempting to march through the city centre clashed with groups of anti-fascist demonstrators. The two groups threw tomatoes, bottles and rocks at each other but serious clashes were prevented by police in riot gear.

Government human rights official beaten, arrested by riot police

Meanwhile a senior official from the government's human rights section says she was beaten and arrested by police during the demonstration. Katerina Jacques, a candidate for the opposition Green Party in the forthcoming parliamentary elections, had to be treated in hospital after the incident. Mrs Jacques, who was with her two young children, says she was thrown to the ground, kicked and beaten with a truncheon before being handcuffed and taken away for questioning. Police have refused to comment.

Ministry - Hyundai plant to go ahead despite Chung arrest

In other news, the Czech Trade and Industry ministry says the South Korean car-maker Hyundai still intends to go ahead with a new assembly plant in North Moravia despite the arrest last week of the company's chairman Chung Mong-Koo on embezzlement charges. Minister Milan Urban said the signing ceremony would now be held in Seoul, and not the town of Nosovice, where the one-billion-plant will be built. Mr Chung and Hyundai are accused of creating slush funds to pay politicians and officials for business favours.

Youth killed in maypole tragedy

A centuries-old May Day tradition ended in tragedy on Monday when a 20-year-old man was killed by a falling maypole after he and other youths from a neighbouring village cut it down. The tragedy took place in the village of Volduchy, West Bohemia, at around 7am. So far it is unclear whether anyone will be charged with the young man's death.

Weather

Tuesday will be mostly cloudy with rain or showers in places, and maximum daytime temperatures of 18 degrees Celsius.