A special investigatory team of police has begun looking into the police force's recent action to shut down CzechTek, an annual techno party that convened this year in western Bohemia. A police spokesperson said on Thursday that the team was asking both the media and the general public to submit any video recordings, photographs or other relevant documentation of the CzechTek event to the police, in order to aid the team in its work. The formation of the police investigatory team comes on the heels of a Wednesday meeting of the Senate's Defence and Security Committee at which members said the police had been too heavy handed in breaking up the techno party.
In related news, the Czech ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, said on Thursday that his office would launch its own independent investigation, focusing on steps taken by the authorities and police to disband the CzechTek event, in which dozens of techno fans and police were injured on Saturday. Police had used tear gas, stun grenades, batons and water cannons to disperse the crowds, whom the government say were trespassing on private property. This week, thousands of mostly young people held daily demonstrations outside the Interior Ministry and at other Prague locations in protest of the police action, and Mr Motejl said the ombudsman's office had received numerous complaints.
Several hundred people, mostly trade unionists, demonstrated in the Romanian city of Iasi on Thursday to demand the extradition of a Czech businessman who fled the country last week to avoid going to prison for incitement to murder. Frantisek Priplata was convicted in June of provoking the murder of a Romanian trade unionist who had been fighting to cancel a contract that Mr Priplata had secured for his employer to buy into a Romanian steelworks. He was to begin an eight-year prison sentence in Romania next month, but escaped to the Czech Republic on Friday. Mr Priplata claims he was not given a fair trial and the Czech foreign ministry has said he will not be extradited. Romania, however, is expected to issue an international warrant for Mr Priplata's arrest and to push for his return.
Two Czech hockey stars have reportedly signed on to play for the NHL's New York Rangers. Forward Martin Straka and defender Marek Malik, who during the NHL lockout have played in the Czech Elite League for the Plzen and Vitkovice teams respectively, are to join their national team mate Jaromir Jagr, who now plays in Russia. During the 2003-04 season, the last before the lockout, 71 Czechs were playing in the NHL.
Overcast skies, scattered showers and temperatures in low 20s (Celsius) is the forecast for the next few days.
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