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international news _ 20th June, 2006

CzechTek's Bohemian Militarization (July 28-30)

Text by Jonty Skrufff (Skrufff.com)

Czech authorities this week agreed to allow ravers to stage their annual Czechtek music festival at a military training camp in West Bohemia. Press reports said Czechtek organisers will pay a small license fee and will be responsible for all aspects of the event, including providing medical care and cleaning up the site afterwards.

Czech's Defence Ministry revealed their radical solution to dealing with the infamous free festivals almost a year after riot police used water cannons and batons to break up the last one, prompting a political firestorm between young people and politicians. Czech Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek angered many by calling revellers 'dangerous anarchists' prompting protestors to distributing leaflets with the face of Paroubek on them beneath the slogan, 'It will be you who will be beaten tomorrow'.

'Before the Teknival, Jiri Paroubek was perceived pretty well, maybe not as a very intelligent person, but as being reasonably OK. But now it seems that all the young people him even those who are not ravers themselves," Skrufff Czech contributor Jana Komankova said at the time.

"The general public doesn't seem to particularly like the stereotype dreadlocked ravers with skinny dogs but - as the media have pointed out - many 'normal' people go to the parties, just to have some fun. There's certainly no stigma here in saying you go to raves.'

Prime Minister Paroubek lost power two weeks ago in local elections.

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