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international news _ 10th August, 2006

40,000 Ravers Rock Legal CzechTek

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Techno fans from Britain, Germany, Italy and Slovakia partied peacefully alongside tens of thousands of Czech revellers last weekend, at the first ever legal CzechTek.

Police distributed local maps and train timetables and directed partygoers to the site at a military training ground in Bohemia, as part of a new strategy to prevent the violence which disrupted last year’s event when police used water cannons and batons to break up the rave.

“This year, for the first time, Czechtek was made an official event with the army lending their property and police actually helping ravers,” said Skrufff’s Czech contributor Jana Komankova.

“For some ravers this was something not entirely acceptable as the did not want an ‘official’ rave and some even labelled it commercial (even if there was still no tickets or big name artists like on ‘normal’ festivals),” she said.

Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny reported that some Teknival ravers were planning to stage an additional unlicensed party this weekend though said many were happy with the organised event.

“They state they are not interested in conflicts, they just want to dance and have a good time," the newspaper wrote.

The Czech authorities’ enlightened approach contrasted markedly with tactics used in Britain where this week three Norfolk men were fined £900 for helping transport sound equipment to a rave which descended into a riot when police tried to close the party down, last New Year’s Eve. The three twenty-something men told the court they’d done it ‘for the love of the music’.

Also in England, local dignitaries protested after police failed to stop a rave at a nature reserve in Brent Reservoir, North London last weekend, at which over a thousand revellers partied through the night.

"The council needs to stop messing about and act, it's ridiculous," Andrew Dismore, MP for Hendon complained to the Hendon & Finchley Times.

"It needs to just take an injunction out against the organisers and take them to court. It is a valuable SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and has just been recognised by British Waterways, but at the moment it is more a case of low lifes at the Harp than watery wildlife,” he said

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