News Tuesday, SEPTEMBER 26th, 2000

By Rob Cameron

Protests continue - police preparations underway for blockade

Anti-globalisation demonstrators are gathering in Prague ahead of a planned march on the Congress Centre where the IMF/World Bank annual meetings officially get underway today. According to police reports, between three hundred and five hundred protestors had gathered on Namesti Miru by eight o'clock this morning, and were gathering at other points in the city. The demonstration planned for today is expected to be the largest of the week, will split up into three groups at around 1pm, which will all converge on the Congress Centre by separate routes. Organisers say they intend to blockade the IMF/World Bank meetings until the two institutions are disbanded. Thousands of protestors crossed the Czech border throughout the night, but it is not clear whether the expected number of twenty thousand demonstrators will attend the protest today. The police force in Prague has taken the precautionary measure of shutting down the Vysehrad metro station and Nuselsky Most bridge that serves the Congress Centre, and delegates to the IMF/World Bank meetings were shuttled to the centre early this morning.

Czechs agree with anti-globalisation protestors

In a fresh opinion poll carried out by the agency IVVM, the vast majority of Czechs agree with many of the statements made by anti-globalisation demonstrators. Ninety one percent of those asked said that the gap between rich and poor people was constantly widening, and ninety percent stated that the gap between rich and poor countries was also increasing. Sixty seven percent of those asked believe that international corporations affect the decision-making processes of governments and states.

Police arrest twelve people in connection with banknote forgery

Police in Prague have arrested twelve people on suspicion of preparing to buy forged banknotes worth 540 million Czech crowns, or nearly thirteen million US dollars. The forged notes were to be prepared on printing presses abroad, and then smuggled into the Czech Republic for use by the group. If convicted, the group, consisting of eleven men and one woman, could face up to fifteen years in prison.

Blockade on Polish border continues

A blockade of the Chotebuz border crossing on the Czech Polish border by Polish truck drivers continues, leaving the border crossing impassable. The truck drivers are protesting against the treatment they receive at Chotebuz, saying they often have to wait for two days before being allowed to cross the border. Czech and Polish officials have held negotiations with the drivers, who have prepared a list of seven demands, including speeding up proceedings at the border. The drivers want to discuss their demands with the Polish and Czech ministries of Transport before they will give up their blockade.

And finally, the weather forecast. The weather today should bring overcast skies to the Czech Republic, with rain showers and thunderstorms expected in places. The highest daytime temperatures should reach nineteen degrees Celsius. Temperatures during the night should reach a maximum of ten degrees Celsius.