News Sunday, MAY 17th, 1998

Global Street Party 98 organized by environmentalists ended in clashes with police and looting Saturday night

The city council of Pilsen has shocked the country with its plan to build a ghetto for what it calls "socially unadaptable" citizens

The Czech embassy in Indonesia is said to be preparing for the possibility of an evacuation of Czech citizens from Jakarta

The Czech Olympic ice hockey champions have settled for the bronze in the world championship in Switzerland

Those were the headlines and now the news in more detail:

Eco party turns ugly Global Street Party 98, a march organized by environmentalist ended in a riot Saturday night. As the march of 3,000 mainly young people progressed through the centre of town the mood turned ugly with participants attacking the McDonalds and KFC outlets on Wenceslas Square. Police clashed with demonstrators amidst total confusion, broken shopwindows and looting. The crowd threw cobblestones and bottles at police and harassed drivers who happened to be passing through the square. At one point the police totally lost control , the ctk newsagency reports, and the crowd overturned a police vehicle as the police retreated. Four policeman are reported to be in hospital with injuries, over 50 young radicals were arrested when police re- enforcements arrived on the spot. Greenpeace has distanced itself from the violence.

Ghetto plans shock country The city council of Pilsen has shocked the country with its plan to build a ghetto outside the town for what it calls "socially unadaptable citizens". The towns mayor has rejected a racial bias, saying the ghetto would be for so called "troublemakers" of any race who consistently refuse to pay rent, or upset neighbours by refusing to respect noise and hygiene standards. According to the mayor it would be up to a court to decide whether or not such a person would be banished to the ghetto. Politicians have expressed concern that the ghetto would inevitably turn into a Romany settlement. Opposition mp Pavel Dostal has urged re-socialization programs instead, reminding the mayor that at the start of the SWW Jews were also herded into ghettos for the so-called benefit of society.

Jakarta -alert The Czech embassy in Indonesia is said to be preparing for the possibility of evacuating Czech citizens from Jakarta. Embassy officials have advised caution though an evacuation order has not yet been given. Although the situation over the past 24 hours has been fairly calm some observers fear the worst is yet to come and thousands of tourists are scrambling to flee the country. The embassy says it knows of some 80 Czechs temporarily residing in Jakarta but has no idea as to the number of tourists. The US and Canada are in the process of evacuating their citizens.

Ice hockey team comes home The Czech ice hockey team which won the bronze medal at the World Championship in Switzerland flew home on Saturday tired but satisfied. It's been a great year for us, including this tournament, coach Slavomir Lener told the ctk newsagency. He admitted that after the Olympic gold medal in Nagano some fans were slightly disappointed by third place. A bronze medal is still a medal, he said, and the boys gave it everything they had. It was a good championship. The Czech team played against the Swiss on home ground for the bronze, winning 4:0.

ODA not to run in elections The ODA a right-wing party and a junior partner in ex-premier Klaus' former centre-right governing coalition has announced it will not be taking part in the upcoming general elections. The party's popularity rating plummeted to a meagre 1% in the wake of internal disputes and financing scandals. Chairman Daniel Kroupa said the party would now focus on re-building trust.

Surveys Meanwhile, the main opposition party of Social Democrats is holding its lead over ex-premier Vaclav Klaus' ODS ahead of the June elections, according to a survey by the STEM agency released on Friday. The survey showed the Social Democrats at 25 percent support, up from 24 in February, while Klaus' party was unchanged at 16 percent. Both party leaders have rejected the possibility of a broad left-right coalition. STEM said its findings indicated that a possible centre-left alliance of Social democrats and centrist Christian Democrats would have 80 seats in the 200-member Lower House, and 94 seats if the left-leaning Pensioners' Party were added.

And finally the weather : Monday should be partly cloudy with the possibility of light showers and day temps between 16 and 20 degs. Nighttime lows 10 to 6 degs C.