According to the police, about 70,000 people gathered for a more than three-hour demonstration against the government on Wenceslas Square in Prague on Saturday. The protest called the Czech Republic in 1st place was a joint action of organizations, political parties and citizens who do not agree with the current policy and want the resignation of the government.
According to Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS), the event was called by forces that claim a pro-Russian orientation, are close to extremists and are against the interests of the Czech Republic. According to the police, the protest passed without serious problems. The organizers are planning another demonstration on September 28.
“We demand the immediate resignation of the government,” the organizers said. “We demand the establishment of a temporary government of experts and the calling of early elections. If the government does not resign by September 25, we will declare the right to protest according to the Constitution of the Czech Republic at a nationwide demonstration and announce coercive actions. We are already negotiating with trade unions, entrepreneurs, farmers, mayors, transporters and others organizations to declare a strike,” they warned. According to their estimate, over 100,000 people participated in today’s demonstration.
The organizers criticized high energy prices and the pro-Western course of the current government. They requested the authorization of their representatives to enter into short-term contracts for the supply of cheap gas and oil. Another requirement was the replacement of the CT Council and the Council of Czech Radio.
In response to the demonstration, Prime Minister Fiala stated that it is clear that pro-Russian disinformation campaigns are appearing in the Czech Republic and that someone is subject to them. According to him, Russia is waging an economic war with EU states through energy. The policy of the previous government of Andrej Babiš (ANO) left the Czech Republic completely dependent on Russian energy, and the current government is taking steps to get rid of the dependence as soon as possible, he said. He added that everyone has the right to express their views.
The organizers of the demonstration claimed, among other things, the Chcípl pes movement, which arose during the covid-19 epidemic and opposed measures against the spread of the infection. According to the organizers, the protesters were mainly middle-aged and older people. Young people probably do not yet realize the seriousness of the current situation, said one of the speakers, Matěj Gregor from the Svobodní party.
Rescuers treated nine people during the demonstration, one of them was taken to the hospital. “Mostly people needed the help of paramedics due to nausea, collapse or other less serious reasons,” Jana Poštová, spokeswoman for the Prague rescue service, told ČTK.
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