Czech protesters have called for the resignation of the country’s current leaders over their support for Ukraine and ties to the United States.
Thousands of supporters of the Czech non-parliamentary party PRO (Law, Respect, Expertise) gathered in central Prague on Saturday to demand the resignation of the country’s government over its pro-Western policies.
Around 10,000 people are estimated to have attended the rally, which was held in Prague’s Wenceslas Square, according to local reports cited by Reuters. The PRO party, however, says more than 100,000 people took part in the anti-government protests, which were the third of their kind organized by the populist group this year.
Party leader Jindrich Rajchl claimed at the event that the Czech Republic’s current five-party ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, was “following orders from Brussels » and criticized the government’s continued military support for Ukraine, as well as its close ties to the United States.
“They are agents of foreign powers, people who carry out orders, mere puppets. And I no longer want a puppet government.” Rajchl told the crowd, adding that the Czech Republic should also veto any attempt by Ukraine to join NATO. Some protesters categorically demanded that Prague leave the US-led military bloc.
Protesters also challenged the current government’s handling of inflation – which has reached double digits – tax changes, pension adjustments, measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the automobile industry and Covid-19 restrictions that were adopted under Prime Minister Fiala.
Rajchl insisted that the Czech government should represent the interests of its citizens and expressed concerns about the capacity of the country’s social and health system, particularly in light of the recent influx of economic migrants from from Ukraine.
The last time the PRO party held such protests in April, demonstrators also criticized the Czech government for devoting too many resources to helping Ukraine fight Russia rather than tackling domestic problems. At the time, protesters also demanded the resignation of the country’s leaders, whom some accused of being “full of warmongers” which are causing the Czech people to suffer economically.
Prague is one of kyiv’s closest allies in the ongoing conflict with Moscow. Since the start of hostilities in February 2022, the Czech Republic has supplied Ukraine with tanks, rocket launchers, helicopters, artillery shells and other military aid. The country has also hosted some 460,000 Ukrainian refugees since the crisis began, with 300,000 still living there, according to a Euronews report published earlier this year.
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