August 15, 2006

Praguers stage protest against U.S. missile site

About 100 people took part in a march of protest against the potential location of a U.S. missile base on Czech territory.

According to the organisers, the No to Bases civic organisation, a missile site in the Czech Republic would not strengthen the country´s security, but only contribute to the growing international tension and weapons proliferation.

The peaceful character of the march of protest that moved from Prague´s Wenceslas Square to namesti Miru was hampered by a verbal shoot-out between representatives of the Young Communists and American citizen Arianna Farnam from the International Peace Movement. Farnam resented the abuse of the event by the Communists for their propaganda and for carrying posters with the hammer and sickle on them.

The dispute frustrated the speeches of main organisers for a couple of minutes.

The main reason for the march was the organisers´ disagreement with U.S. security policy.

"We do not believe that bases are a contribution. The policy of armament and strength pursued by the US does not lead to any goal. It is necessary to proceed along the path of disarmament," organisation spokesman Jan Tamas told CTK.

According to a public opinion poll from mid-July, a large majority of Czechs are against the location of a U.S. anti-missile site in the Czech Republic.

U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic William Cabaniss admitted after the poll was published that the base was a controversial topic for Czechs. However, he said that Czechs reject the base also because they do not have enough information.

The Pentagon wants to build a site in Europe that would be able to intercept possible enemy missiles launched from Iran and other risk countries.

A group of U.S. experts have already visited the Czech Republic and Poland to examine possible suitable localities.

The construction of a U.S. missile base is supported in the Czech Republic mainly by the followers of the Civic Democrats (ODS), who won the recent general elections, while voters of the Social Democrats and especially the Communists (KSCM) are mostly against it.


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