Press Review

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Four Czech haulage unions are pressing the government to reduce the price of fuel, and Czech border crossings in the north of the country are flooded with foreign activists heading for Prague for the IMF/World Bank session. This and more in Friday's Press Review with Alena Skodova and Beatrice Cady.

Today's LIDOVE NOVINY says representatives of four Czech haulage unions handed over a list of demands to the government on Thursday in a bid to resolve the tense situation over the price of fuel. Their demands include the regulation of fuel prices, lower taxes for haulage companies, support for environmentally-friendly vehicles and the introduction of so-called "professional" fuel for haulage companies, which would allow them to reclaim some of the consumer tax. The paper quotes Prime Minister Milos Zeman as saying that the unions have to understand his government's decision not to reduce consumer tax on fuel. At the same time he warned that if Parliament succeeded in reducing it, then all his negotiations with the haulage companies would be scrapped, writes LIDOVE NOVINY.

"Anti-globalization activists have flooded Czech-German border crossings," reads today's ZEMSKE NOVINY. They are all heading for Prague to protest against globalization at a time when the world's most prominent financiers are in session in the Czech capital. The border crossing at Cinovec in northern Bohemia looked as if there were maneuvres there last night, writes the paper. A group of some 60 protesters on bicycles stayed on the German side overnight, as Czech customs officers prevented two Italians and one American from crossing the border, allegedly because they had caused problems in the Czech Republic during previous visits. Meanwhile, dozens of anti-globalization protesters are accommodating themselves in a "tent city" erected in Prague's Strahov stadium. Journalists are outraged because they have to pay a thousand crowns before being let in, writes ZEMSKE NOVINY.

Meanwhile the first serious conflict between the protesters and the police will most likely occur on Saturday in Letna in Prague, writes MLADA FRONTA DNES. Letna will become a meeting place for a rally of Czech neo-Nazis, which is unlikely to escape the attention of anarchist groups. The police are not specially prepared for this particular event. "It will only be one of the many demonstrations taking place on Saturday, and we don't see any reason why we should pay more attention to it," Prague police spokeswoman Eva Brozova told MLADA FRONTA DNES.

And finally, CESKE SLOVO writes about Friday's blockade of South Bohemian border check points by Austrian anti-nuclear activists protesting against the approaching launch of the controversial nuclear power plant at Temelin. The paper features a photo depicting a line of cars waiting to enter Austria. This is the fourth time the South Bohemian crossings have been blockaded by Austrian tractors and lorries, this time for the whole day. According to the paper, the police are helpless and their advice to Czech drivers is simple: postpone your trips to Austria!

Authors: Beatrice Cady , Alena Škodová
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