Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg is set to visit Tunisia and Morocco next week. Mr. Schwarzenberg will be traveling to Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on Friday. Mr. Schwarzenberg’s official visit is the first by a Czech official since this year’s upheavals in Tunisia, where anti-government protests brought down the country’s autocratic regime in January. On Sunday, the Czech foreign minister will continue on to Morocco. The country recently saw its deadliest terrorist attack in eight years, when a suspected suicide bomber detonated a device in a crowded square, killing fifteen people. The anti-government protests in Tunisia were followed by a wave of similar protests in Egypt, Sirya and Lybia, as well as a number of other Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Police arrested thirteen far-right extremists who were participating in a march through the city of Brno on Sunday. Some 400 far-right extremists attended the march, which was being protested by about a 1000 people. The protestors blocked part of the route of the march, one of the city center’s streets where a lot of Romanies live. The extremists had to alter their route. No one was injured and no acts of vandalism occurred, police said.
Brno City Hall had banned the march, which is organized by the Worker’s Party of Social Justice. However, a local court overturned the ban. Police can dissolve the gathering if the participants engage in illegal behavior during the march, which is meant to draw attention to “the invasion of foreign workers and the exodus of our people.”
In related news, on occasion of Labor Day, a number of demonstrations and gatherings are underway in cities and towns across the Czech Republic. In the Moravian city of Brno, police are bracing themselves for a far-right extremist march that is being protested by several local groups. Some 400 extremists are expected to march through the city center on Sunday afternoon. In Prague, some 40 anarchists gathered at their traditional labor day meeting point, an island in the Vltava river. The Social Democrats also held a gathering, while the Civic Democrats are not organizing any events for this year’s Labor Day. Over a thousand people attended the Communist Party’s meeting.
A protestor interrupted a Labor Day gathering of the Communist Party in Prague on Sunday. While the head of the party, Vojtěch Filip, called on the visitors to protest the government of Prime Minister Petra Nečas, the activist climbed onto the stage, flashing a flag with both a swastika and the hammer and sickle symbol. He said he wanted to express his view that the communist ideology is as dangerous as the ideology of the Nazis and that the Communist Party should be banned. Police escorted the activist, who regularly attends the party’s meetings to protest against it, from the gathering. Mr. Filip labeled his behavior criminal.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said in an interview with the daily Lidové noviny that without Pope John Paul II, the fall of the communist regime would not have been possible. The minister, who is of Catholic faith, said that Pope John Paul II was an important figure both within the catholic church and the secular world, adding that because John Paul II also lived under communism, he had an understanding of the reality of life in a totalitarian regime. On Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI beatified his predecesor Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005. Over 200,000 Catholics watched the ceremony in Vatican City. Beatification is the last step on the road to sainthood, though not all those who are beatified are finally canonized
The head of the Constitutional Court, Pavel Rychetský, said on Czech Television on Sunday that the critics of his court do not understand its role. He said the function of the court was to monitor Parliament, and that therefore it was bound to sometimes interfere with the world of politics. President Václav Klaus on Wednesday criticized a verdict issued by the Constitutional Court that declared a change in building savings accounts legislation unlawful, saying the court should not interfere with political decisions.
Under the new law, state contributions to such savings accounts would have been cut. Since agreements signed under different conditions would be affected retroactively, the court deemed the change in legislation unconstitutional.
Miroslava Pikolová, a 16-year-old student from Prague, was crowned the Miss Roma 2011 held in the Moravian city of Hodonín on Saturday. A total of twelve girls made it to the final round; eighty had applied to the competition, which is gaining popularity. Apart from traditional beauty pageant elements, such as the swim suit and evening wear competition, the girls also competed in czardas, a traditional Hungarian folk dance popularized by Roma music bands.
Police have arrested a man who is accused of having abused his two young cousins over the past five years, TV Nova reported on Saturday. Police said they were alerted to the man’s actions while investigating an unrelated case. According to the report, the man started abusing the girls in 2006, when they were seven and eight years old. He could face a prison sentence of up to eight years.
Two young persons died in a shooting in the Central Bohemian city of Králův Dvůr. According to a police spokeswoman, the two were playing with guns. One of the two accidentally fired a fatal shot. The other may have committed suicide in reaction to the accident. Police are investigating the incident.
The reigning world champions, the Czech ice hockey team, on Saturday beat Latvia 4-2 in their opening Group D match at the world championships currently underway in the Slovak city of Kosice. Striker Patrik Eliáš, of the New Jersey Devils, and Martin Havlat, of the Minnesota Wild, both collected a goal and an assist, while goalie Ondřej Pavelec made 22 saves. Czech defenseman Radek Martínek had to be carried off on a stretcher and taken to a Bratislava hospital for treatment. The Czechs will meet their next opponents, Denmark, on Monday.
Over the weekend, cloudy skies and daytime temperatures between 14 and 18 degrees Celsius are expected, with a chance of isolated thunderstorms.