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US military radar opponents protest against the project in Prague
[January 21, 2007]

US military radar opponents protest against the project in Prague

(Czech News Agency Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Prague, Jan 21 (CTK) - About 150 opponents of a possible location of a U.S. missile defence base in the Czech Republic, who met in the centre of Prague today to protest against the project, dropped their intention to set off for the U.S. embassy and ended the demonstration after less than an hour. The USA on Friday officially asked Prague to launch negotiations about placing a radar part of the base on Czech territory. The Czech centre-right government of Mirek Topolanek wants to do so. Topolanek (Civic Democrats, ODS) said at a press conference on Saturday that the issue should be decided on by parliament and that he considers holding a referendum unnecessary. The No to Bases activist group, which organised the protest meeting today, believes that the government's mandate is too weak and that the government cheats the public. The activists say that the base would seriously harm the local population's safety and interests. "If we hold on, we can deal a blow to the USA that would be the biggest it has experienced over several past decades," a speaker at the meeting said. He compared the negotiations about the base and Prague's possible agreement with it to the invitation of the Soviet-led occupation troops in 1968 by the then Czechoslovak communist hardliners. The No to Bases group, founded in July 2006, also collects signatures on a petition demanding that a referendum on the base be held. Almost 40,000 people signed various petitions against the project last year. The plan's advocates say that the radar station would enhance security of the country and of Europe, and that it would benefit local companies and research. rtj/dr

Copyright 2007 CTK Czech News Agency. Source: Financial Times Information Limited.

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