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(en) Czechs brace for street clashes at NATO summit

From <anarcho_sando@hotmail.com>
Date Fri, 25 Oct 2002 01:45:12 -0400 (EDT)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Czechs brace for street clashes at NATO summit

posted by Anarcho on Tuesday October 22 2002 @ 09:46PM PDT on

  PRAGUE, Oct 22- With an historic NATO summit a month away, the Czech 
capital is bracing for violent anti-globalisation protests, which the 
authorities fear could wreak havoc in the ancient city's streets.
Dozens of world leaders will arrive in Prague for the November 21-22 summit, 
the first full meeting of the Western alliance's 19 members since last 
year's September 11 attacks on the United States.

NATO is expected to invite seven former-Communist states to become members 
at the summit.

Security was always going to be tight, but officials have become decidedly 
edgy in recent days amid reports that as many as 12,000 demonstrators were 
planning to descend on Prague, many of them suspected left-wing extremists 
and anarchists.

Anti-globalisation protests have marred several international events in 
recent years. With memories of clashes during a Prague meeting of the 
International Monetary Fund in 2000 still fresh, officials issued stern 
warnings to city residents.

"People are obliged to keep on their person identification cards or 
passports," the Interior Ministry said on its Web site on Tuesday.

"People should avoid confused situations which attract the attention of the 
police and the organisers. They should quickly leave...the places of 
gatherings with displays of violence and withdraw to a safe place," it said.

The ministry has also posted a list of "Ten Commandments" on its Web site 
(www.mvcr.cz) warning people not to try the patience of police.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Vondra, the summit's organiser, said parts 
of the city would be completely cordoned off along with many main roads 
running through the city centre.

"I would like to ask Prague residents for their understanding and their 
indulgence. The summit is the biggest event the city and the country have 
ever hosted," he said.

Much of the tension stems from unconfirmed reports that anarchists have been 
operating secret training camps to teach demonstrators violent tactics such 
as making petrol bombs.

There is no evidence to substantiate the reports, but police made clear they 
were not taking any chances. Police spokeswoman Danica Hrabalova said 
between 10,000 and 12,000 police and troops will guard the summit as NATO 
aircraft patrol the skies.


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