Macek: Shoot violent demonstrators
Czech officials have been giving their verdict on the street disturbances earlier this week which overshadowed peaceful demonstrations against the IMF and World Bank in Prague. The deputy leader of the opposition Civic Democrats, Miroslav Macek, said police should have opened fire on rioting demonstrators, hundreds of whom fought running battles with the police on Tuesday. His words were the harshest condemnation of the violent clashes which overshadowed the demonstrations against this week's IMF/World Bank meeting. Politicians have praised the Czech police for exercising restraint, although some anti-IMF groups have accused the police of brutality. The Interior Ministry has also denied allegations from civic monitoring groups that police planted agent provocateurs among demonstrators to whip up violence. Police announced on Thursday that 859 people had been arrested during the demonstrations, including 330 foreigners. Czech officials have largely blamed Tuesday's disturbances on foreign activists.
Anti-globalisation activists have briefly occupied the Czech consulate in Barcelona. Some 45 demonstrators gathered outside the building on Thursday afternoon, and 15 managed to force their way inside. According to agency reports Spanish police have now removed them from the building. There were also small demonstrations outside the Czech embassies in Paris, Vienna and Brussels.
The European Union's Commissioner for Enlargement, Guenter Verheugen, has said the dispute over the planned launch of the Czech Republic's Temelin nuclear power station will not be linked to talks on EU membership. Speaking after talks in Vienna with the Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, Mr Verheugen said the EU had no mandate to include the issue of Temelin in bilateral membership talks with the Czech Republic. Mr Verheugen said he had no influence over the Czech Republic's internal decisions. Nuclear-free Austria is firmly opposed to putting Temelin into operation, and protestors blockaded the Czech-Austrian border in recent weeks demanding that Prague hold talks on the issue. Meanwhile Germany's Environment Minister, Jurgen Trittin, was quoted by an Austrian newspaper as saying that Temelin would not pass German safety laws.
China has condemned plans for the former Taiwanese President Li Teng Choej to visit the Czech Republic in mid-October. Mr Li has been invited to visit the country by President Vaclav Havel, who has angered China before by meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalaj Lama. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has condemned Mr Li's visit as another attempt to win support for Taiwanese independence.
Four right-of-centre opposition parties grouped together in a coalition have announced they will fight the 2002 parliamentary elections together, using joint candidates. The leader of one of the parties, the Freedom Union, said the decision was a milestone. The parties are bitterly opposed to a power-sharing pact between the ruling Social Democrats and the main opposition right-of-centre Christian Democrats.
And finally, the weekend's weather forecast. Saturday should see mist in the morning, clearing around lunchtime to make way for sunny skies. Maximum daytime temperatures should reach 22 degrees Celsius. Sunday will be clear and sunny, with temperatures reaching 21 degrees.
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