“It was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration to draw attention to the effects of globalization on the environment. Up to 3,000 people attended the so-called Global Street Party on náměstí Miru on 16 May , which featured music and dancing. The event was organised by Earth First!, Proti proudu/Rainbow Keepers, and the Czechoslovak Anarchist Federation, was authorized by police, and took place peacefully. But in the later afternoon, an estimated 2,000 participants, mostly youths, started an unauthorized march across Prague. Eventually the march wound its way down to Prague’s Old Town. At that point, a smaller group headed off for Wenceslas Square, where some participants started breaking the storefront windows of McDonald’s and KFC outlets in the square and on Vodičkova Street. After violent clashes, the police managed to disperse the crowd. Initially, more than 60 people were detained and 25 of them were charged with breaking the peace and other offenses. A handful of people filed official complaints about police brutality during the arrests. The entire incident, the first of its kind in the Czech Republic, has sparked a debate in the Czech media about the country’s youth and the police’s ability to handle such demonstrations. The following is a selection of articles that appeared in the Czech press after the incident.”
from The New Presence: The Prague Journal of Central European Affairs, June 1998, pages 18-19.
RADICAL ARCHIVES note: The 1998 Global Street Parties were Reclaim the Streets actions held around the world. They were one of a number of events that were direct precursors to the Seattle demonstrations against the WTO in November-December 1999. The Prague one is of note for both its size, location in Eastern Europe, and the fact that it was explicitly sponsored by a self-identified Anarchist federation along with semi-anarchist groups.