Echoes of the Saturday demonstration. Ministers promise better communication, political scientists describe who was there | iRADIO

The government wants to better and more simply explain to people its steps in solving the energy crisis. In response to yesterday’s demonstration, Vice-Chairman of the Cabinet Vít Rakušan from the STAN movement and Minister of Industry and Trade Jozef Síkela from the Elders and Independents said this in televised debates. According to the police, up to 70,000 people demanded the resignation of the government on Wenceslas Square in Prague on Saturday.



Prague
5:43 p.m September 4, 2022

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“Expensive gas, water, electricity. And the government is not taking any stance on it yet,” said one of the participants in Saturday’s demonstration. | Photo: Jana Stuláková | Source: Czech Radio

Minister Síkela expressed regret for the fear and concerns of the people who came to the demonstration. “I will do everything to communicate even more and explain more without embellishment what our situation is, but also that we have instructions on how to solve the situation,” assures the minister.

According to the Austrian Deputy Prime Minister, the solution to the situation is not dependence on Russian gas, as the organizers of the anti-government demonstration demanded.


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“Expensive gas, water, electricity. It’s all bad what’s going on here. And the government is not taking any stance on it yet,” one of the participants in Saturday’s demonstration told Czech Radio.

Vít Rakušan said on Prima TV that the government wants to prevent, for example, energy traders from being able to increase advance payments to customers without restrictions. Jozef Síkela added for Czech Television that the cabinet will discuss the creation of a so-called state energy trader on Wednesday. The latter should provide them for the public sector.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said yesterday that the demonstration was called by pro-Russian forces. According to the demonstration website, Jiří Havel and Ladislav Vrábel organized the event. Both describe themselves as politically unaffiliated citizens. There were other people on stage with them, including pro-Russian activist Žarko Jovanović, as security analyst Roman Máca of the Institute for Politics and Security noted.

(Jovanovič – editor’s note)is a big face of the pro-Russian scene in the Czech Republic. He says he is a patriot, but then he won’t say that he secretly works for the Russian army television or for the main program of the Russian propaganda television,” explains the background of one of Mác’s speakers. According to him, a mix of conspirators, anti-vaxxers, representatives of communists and others performed on stage.

“People feel that the government does not care about them and they feel that no one listens to them. The only ones they perceive as offering some form of solution are precisely these groups,” political scientist Jan Charvát from the Faculty of Social Sciences of Charles University describes why some people came to the demonstration and adds: “I don’t think that all those demonstrators fully realize what they are for they are demonstrating, or what they have helped. All of them did not expect that their presence would be significantly used by the Russian side for its PR”

Dozens of Russian media outlets, including state agencies TASS and Ria Novosti, reported on the demonstration.

The reaction of the Czech opposition did not take long. The leader of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, wrote on his Facebook yesterday that he would not be surprised if even more people came to the next anti-government demonstration. His party colleague and Deputy Speaker of the House Jana Mračková Vildumetzová said on TV Prima that people went to the demonstration because they were afraid.


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“The Prime Minister’s statement was really very unfortunate. In fact, his government still hasn’t come up with any solution in the last eight months. Other states have the solutions,” Vildumetzová said on Sunday.

Radim Fiala, the chairman of the SPD opposition deputies, also thinks that the government has no solution to the energy crisis.

According to police estimates, up to 70,000 people came to demonstrate. They wanted the resignation of Petr Fiala’s cabinet from the ODS, to withdraw from the European Union or NATO. The organizers summarized the other requirements into 10 points. In addition to freedom of speech and the preservation of the national currency, there is also a need for military neutrality, so that the Czechia does not get involved in war.

The organizers also emphasized that the state should have direct contracts with gas suppliers, especially with Russia. They also demanded that Czech companies supply cheap electricity to households.

Marie Veselá

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