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Czechs Protest US Radar Plan


About 300 opponents of a planned U.S. missile defense radar base in the Czech Republic protested in Prague Saturday, as U.S. President Barack Obama arrived for a visit.

Demonstrators gathered at the U.S. embassy and chanted anti-U.S. and anti-NATO slogans. Opinion polls suggest many Czechs fear the radar could create tensions with Russia and more insecurity in Europe.

In spite of a ban on protests, demonstrators have planned more rallies for Sunday, as Mr. Obama meets with top European Union leaders. The Czech Republic currently holds the rotating EU presidency.

Mr. Obama Friday announced that in his address in Prague Sunday he will lay out an agenda for a world without nuclear weapons. He said the spread of nuclear weapons could lead to the extermination of any city on the planet.

U.S. officials say the proposal to place 10 U.S. interceptor missiles in Poland and radar guidance in the Czech Republic is aimed at protecting European allies against missile threats from countries such as Iran.

Russia strongly opposes the plan as a threat to its security.

President Obama has suggested the missile defense system may not be needed if Russia would use its influence to help convince Iran to abandon its nuclear program.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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