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12 Mar, 2023 13:21

Czechs protest price rises and Ukraine military aid

Demonstrators in Prague rallied against poverty and demanded an end to weapons deliveries to Kiev

Thousands of Czechs took to the streets of Prague for an anti-government demonstration on Saturday. Protesters decried falling living standards and rising prices, but also their government’s continued military support of Ukraine.

Organized by the right-wing Law, Respect, Expertise party (PRO), the rally saw demonstrators wave Czech flags and placards demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Fiala’s government. The current Czech cabinet has been criticized for its perceived failure to tackle the issues posed by rising inflation.

Addressing the crowd, PRO leader Jindrich Rajchl vowed: “We will do everything in our power to make sure that this government’s national catastrophe of Petr Fiala ends as soon as possible.

The politician added that the country deserves a new government that would “put the interests of the citizens of the Czech Republic first.

Other speakers at the rally included at least one serving and one retired senator, as well as a lawyer and a film director.

Concluding the protest, Rajchl warned that unless the government steps down by April 10, there will be another demonstration next month, with participants blocking government buildings.

After Saturday’s event came to an end, a group of protesters marched toward the National Museum, where they chanted for the Ukrainian flag to be removed from its facade. According to a police spokesperson, several dozen people tried to force their way into the building, which resulted in scuffles with officers. Local media reported that 18 arrests were made, while two policemen were injured.

Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan condemned the protesters’ behavior.