PRAGUE – Tens of thousands of Czechs used Friday’s national holiday to protest in the capital against the pro-Western government and in support of Ukraine’s war against Russian aggression.
According to police estimates, the protest came after two others in Prague’s central Wenceslas Square and was smaller than 70,000 people who gathered for similar reasons on September 3, according to police estimates. .
Organized under the slogan “Czech Republic First,” referring to former US President Donald Trump’s nationalist background, the rally united the far right with the far left and various fringe groups. Its organizers are known for their pro-Russian views and opposition to a COVID-19 vaccine.
With energy, food and housing prices soaring in the country, protesters have demanded the resignation of the coalition government led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala.
“Resignation!” They shouted and waved the national flag.
Protesters have repeatedly condemned the pro-Ukrainian government and European Union sanctions against Russia, protesting the Czech Republic’s membership of the EU, NATO and other international organizations such as the United Nations. countries and the World Health Organization.
One speaker said: “Russia is not our enemy, the warming government is the enemy.
A smaller protest was held in the country’s second largest city of Brno.
The government has denied those requests.
“We know who our friends are and who is shedding our blood for our freedom,” Interior Minister Vit Rakusan tweeted. “And we also know who our enemies are.”
Czechia is a staunch supporter of Ukraine, donating heavy weapons to the Ukrainian army and granting about 450,000 visas to Ukrainian refugees to give them access to healthcare, financial assistance, work permits, and more. motion and other benefits.
Fiala and several ministers had planned to go to Kyiv on Monday to attend a joint meeting of the Czech and Ukrainian governments.
“We strongly support the legitimate fight of the Ukrainian people against Russian aggression,” Fiala said on Saturday.
Although the country’s populist opposition won some gains in municipal elections last month, the five ruling coalition parties won big in the vote earlier this month for a third of the seats in the city. Upper House of Parliament.