Thousands rally against U.S. missiles

About 2,000 people have rallied in Prague against plans to host a U.S. missile defence radar on Czech soil. The 'No to Bases' movement has called for a national referendum on the issue.

Washington wants to place a radar in Prague and missile interceptors in Poland as a defence against what the U.S. claims are threats from rogue states like Iran and North Korea.

Some of the protesters said a missile base in the country would pose a threat to the national security. This dangerous weapon issue, they believe, may lead to a new conflict and, possibly, a nuclear one.

The participants of the rally also said that the government is not listening to the opinion of the citizens and that’s why they claim the country’s democracy is in poor state.

Latest polls show 68 per cent of Czechs oppose the U.S. plans. Despite this, the government is ploughing ahead negotiations with the U.S. on the issue. The decision is set for early next year.

Russia is concerned the U.S. plans to put missiles so close to the country’s territory could threaten Russia’s own national security. President Vladimir Putin has recently said that a radar base in Europe could start a new arms race between the former Cold War states.