Tens of thousands of ‘Czech Republic First’ protesters are on the streets of Prague demanding that their government take a neutral stance in the war in Ukraine as energy prices spin out of control.
The protesters are described by the Associated Press news agency as “far right and far left”, with the anti-mass migration Freedom and Direct Democracy party and the Communist Party both represented, and numbering around 70,000, according to law enforcement.
They condemned the government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala, in place since last December, and called for his resignation, accusing them of putting Ukrainian interests ahead of Czech interests.
“The best for Ukrainians and two sweaters for us,” read a banner at the protest, alluding to what is likely to penalize energy bills as winter approaches and the fact that the country about 10 million inhabitants absorbed about 400,000 Ukrainian refugees.
NATO and the European Union, of which Czechia currently holds the rotating presidency, have also been criticized – the latter for its net zero climate program, in particular.
Shromáždění na Václavském náměstí probíhá v klidu a nemuseli jsme zatím řešit žádné vážnější problemy. Počet účastníků Fri 14.30h odhadujeme asi na 70 tisíc. pic.twitter.com/9J4QGDEg3j
— Police ČR (@PolicieCZ) September 3, 2022
Prime Minister Fiala, who has previously compared the Russian invasion of Ukraine to Soviet tanks crushing the Prague Spring in 1969, claimed the protest was organized by “pro-Russian people close to extremist positions and whose interests run counter to those of the Czech Republic”. .”
“It is clear that Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns are present on our territory and that some people are simply listening to them,” added the Czech leader, whose government survived a parliamentary vote of no confidence on oil prices on Friday. ‘energy.
Fiala’s government became the first in NATO to send tanks to Ukraine in April this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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