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Victory for Czech peace campaigners

The Pentagon’s plans to install a US military radar base in the Czech Republic, an integral part of its ‘Star Wars’ missile defence scheme, has received a major setback. In March, the Czech Government halted its attempts to ratify an agreement to host the base when it appeared that the Chamber of Deputies was likely to vote ‘no’. According to Jana Glivicka, a leader of the No Bases Initiative, this was a very significant retreat.

Two-thirds of Czechs have consistently opposed the radar ever since it was first proposed in 2006. Anti-radar activists repeatedly called for a referendum, but were rebuffed and in 2008 the Czech Government signed the agreement with the US to proceed anyway. However, it could not be implemented until the Chamber of Deputies ratified it, and thanks to tireless grassroots campaigning – including a high profile hunger strike that spread across the world – popular opinion has remained strongly against the radar. This public opposition has culminated in the Government backing down – at least for now.