Nearly 300 neo-Nazi supporters gathered in the East Bohemian town of Hradec Králové on Saturday. The gathering, which has been announced as Freedom Day, was scheduled to coincide with the death of one of Hitler’s closest aides and associates Rudolf Hesse. The town hall on Friday cancelled a contract for the lease of the open-air cinema where the gathering was originally to take place. However, the neo-Nazi sympathisers gathered in the centre despite not having received a permit. Authorities said the event could only be stopped in case the demonstrators broke the law.
Some two hundred people attended a special mass to commemorate the victims
of last Friday’s train accident near the town of Studénka in which seven
people were killed and dozens more injured. The worship took place in a
church in Studénka and it was led by Bishop František Lobkowitz, who
expressed his thanks to the rescue workers.
The police on Friday filed charges against two civil engineers who were in charge of the reconstruction of a bridge near the town of Studénka that collapsed onto the rail tracks. The police say the two engineers knew the static of the bridge was impaired and did not take sufficient measures to prevent it from collapsing on the tracks.
The police in Vsetín are investigating Deputy Prime Minister Jiří Čunek on suspicion of the sale a majority stake in a Vsetín housing company to a local real estate firm at a very low price. The deputy prime minister had been previously accused of taking a one and a half million crown bribe from the real estate company while serving as mayor of Vsetín, but the state attorney concluded there was not enough evidence to press charges. A new criminal complaint was made by Jiří Jehlička, technical manager of the Central Register of Debtors.
Several dozen kilograms of explosives were used to blow up part of the floor of the Vltava in Prague on Saturday morning. The detonation was carried out by Svatopluk Čech Bridge, beneath the spot where a statue of Stalin once stood at Letná. The detonation was part of project to build a new mooring place for boats. The first of two such detonations took place two weeks ago.
Ondřej Synek won a silver medal in the men’s single scull at the summer Olympics in Beijing on Saturday. The Czech rower was only beaten by Norway’s Olaf Tufte, who defended his Olympic title. New Zealand’s three-time world champion Mahe Drysdale came third. Miroslava Knapková came fifth in the women’s category.
The Czech rider Lukas Pesek came ninth in the qualifier for the 250ccm category at the Czech motorcycling Grand Prix in Brno on Saturday. Italy’s Marco Simoncelli, riding for Gilera, took pole position, followed by Alex Debon of Spain. About 200,000 spectators are expected to support Lukas Pesek during his home Grand Prix race.
President Klaus has said both sides are to blame in the military conflict over South Ossetia. In a statement for Czech Radio, Mr. Klaus said that he strongly condemned both Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia and the massive intervention of the Russian military. He said that to lay the blame exclusively at Russia’s door would be unjust, and noted that with the separation of Kosovo, Russia had obtained a strong justification for its action. The president likewise rejected the comparison with the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, saying that the circumstances in the Caucuses were entirely different.
Earlier this week, the Czech Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be fully respected and indirectly blaming Russia for causing the crisis. Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said that the Czech Republic would like to participate in the EU peacekeeping mission in the region. The Czech Cabinet is to debate the situation in the Caucuses next Wednesday.