According to the police, around 70,000 people gathered at Wenceslas Square in Prague for an anti-government demonstration. In response, Prime Minister Fiala told journalists that it is clear that pro-Russian disinformation campaigns are appearing in the Czech Republic and that someone is subject to them.
He added that everyone has the right to express their views and demonstrate. “The interpretations of the events that I have had the opportunity to see so far point to strongly pro-Russian attitudes, and in my opinion, this does not correspond to the interests of the Czech Republic and our citizens,” added Fiala.
People’s nervousness is huge, but this government will not leave them in need, said the Austrian
However, some ministers distanced themselves from his words on Sunday. “The nervousness in society is huge, I will not despise and label the people who gather for the demonstration,” declared the Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan, for example, saying that he understands the people who came to the demonstration.
Regional Development Minister Ivan Bartoš wrote on Twitter that he does not want to trivialize people’s concerns about the energy crisis and label anyone who questions the government’s actions as a pro-Kremlin supporter.
I refuse to trivialize people’s concerns about the energy crisis and label anyone who questions the government’s actions as a pro-Kremlin supporter. It is not true.
September 4, 2022 at 12:04 p.m., post archived: September 4, 2022 at 2:27 p.m.
“Yes, the Kremlin and extremists are using the current difficult situation, uncertain times to anger society, and there were many of them among the organizers of yesterday’s demonstration. But there are certainly also a number of completely ordinary people, families, entrepreneurs who are worried about the outlook for the next months. We’re not here to challenge their fears, we’re here so they don’t have to have those fears,” he wrote on social media.
Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka also commented on Saturday’s demonstration. Like the Austrian, he emphasized the need to distinguish between people.
“I would distinguish people who came there and wore, for example, Vladimir Putin T-shirts, adored him and said what a great politician he is. That’s one category of people where I think the opinions are somewhere completely different. And then there are people who are afraid, have concern and have come to express their opinion. And we, as the government, have to give some kind of answer in the order of days or weeks, that they will really handle the situation,” he declared in Otázky Václav Moravec on Sunday.
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Josef Síkela, spoke similarly. He also indicated that people who are afraid also came to Wenceslas Square.
The government has a responsibility, says Cuba
According to Martin Kuba, the government should not underestimate people’s fear of current price increases and the energy crisis and should make it clear to them that they will deal with the situation. “The statement itself is not happy, it is necessary to think about it and see what leads people there, and if the government ignores it, then a problem may arise,” Kuba commented on the prime minister’s words on Sunday in the discussion program Partie Terezia Tománková on CNN Prima News .
According to him, it is clear that the country is entering a disinformation war and that pro-Russian activists participated in the organization of Saturday’s demonstration. “The task of this government is to make it clear to the people that we will lead them through the situation, that belongs to democracy, the government has responsibility for it,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Jana Mračková Vildumetzová, also described Fiala’s statement about the demonstration as unfortunate. She stated that she would not agree with all the speakers at the demonstration, but that the people protesting had her support. According to her, the government is handling the current situation badly.
70,000 people gathered in Prague for a demonstration against the government, demanding resignation
The Governor of the Liberec Region, Martin Půta, also expressed his understanding for people’s participation in the demonstration. He also stated that it is impossible to comment on such a large protest only with words about the pro-Russian organizers of the demonstration. “The government has to talk to them, and it cannot be softened by labeling the organizers of the demonstration as people who support Putin. I believe that the ministers have understood in the last two weeks that the situation is not simple,” said Půta.
According to SPD MP Jan Hrnčíř, Fial’s statements were arrogant and stupid. He said he did not think the demonstration was called by pro-Russian forces. According to him, the speeches at the demonstration were about a desperate situation where the government is unable to help people.
The demonstration entitled Czech Republic in 1st place was a joint event of organizations, political parties and citizens who disagree with the current government policy and want change. From the podium under the statue of St. Wenceslas, the speakers mainly criticized the high energy prices and the pro-Western course of the current government. Organizers said they were demanding the immediate resignation of Fial’s cabinet and the calling of new parliamentary elections. If the requirement is not met, there is a threat of opposition.