News Sunday, MAY 02th, 1999

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail

Police clashed with anarchist demonstrators as they attempted to block a skinheads' march through Prague on Saturday. Cobblestones and bottles flew through the air close to Prague's National Theatre as some 300 anarchists fought to retain their position on the Legionaries' Bridge in order to prevent skinheads from marching through Prague. As police attempted to keep them apart, several hundred skinheads chanted nationalist slogans while anarchists accused the police of "protecting neo-fascists". Police eventually had to use smoke bombs to control the crowd and around twenty people are reported to have been arrested.

Prime minister Zeman who himself was in the vicinity to lay a wreath at the memorial stone to the first Labour Day celebrations in Prague in 1890, actually met some of the anarchists face to face. He admitted that he himself would very much like to find a legal way to ban or at least curb the most militant factions of the skinhead movement, such as Blood and Honour.

Meanwhile, the Communist Party's Labour Day celebrations were marked by the war in Yugoslavia and the Czech Republic's part in it. Communist leaders condemned the NATO air strikes and demanded the Czech president's resignation for his unequivocal support of the use of force against Milosevic. "There can be no peace and stability for the Czech Republic while its politicians support war and while Vaclav Havel remains at Prague Castle. The humanist has turned warmonger" communist party leader Miroslav Grebenicek thundered from the makeshift tribune. He was interrupted by applause and chants of "Down with Havel" from the audience of communist supporters.

Two of the 15 children hurt in Friday's fairground accident are said to be in critical condition and doctors are fighting for their lives. They are a girl of twelve and a four year old boy. Together with 13 other children they were injured in a seemingly freak accident in which a centrifuge broke loose at full speed and collapsed onto a near by merry-go-round. Witnesses describe a horror scene in which parents rushed to bring their children out from under the piles of twisted metal even before emergency rescue teams and firemen arrived on the spot. Two other girls and a thirteen year old boy also remain hospitalized although they are now reported to be out of danger. One fairground attendant was also hurt in the accident, which is currently being investigated.

Czech social workers and medical staff are preparing for Monday's incoming flight of another hundred or so Kosovo refugees who are said to be in a much worse state of health than those who arrived last week. Apparently this latest batch of refugees all have serious health problems and have not been able to receive adequate treatment for it at their respective camps in Macedonia. This third flight on Monday should conclude the first wave of Kosovo refugees admitted by the Czech Republic. Others are to follow after a short break. The Czech interior minister said on Friday the Czech Republic was prepared to take in an overall number of 5,000 refugees.


After two really warm and sunny days, with day temps reaching 23 degs C, Sunday is expected to bring partly cloudy to overcast skies and scattered rainshowers in the late afternoon and evening. Nighttime lows between 11 and 7 degs. Day temps 16 to twenty degs C.