Czechs rally to demand resignation of pro-Western government

PRAGUE (AP) — Tens of 1000’s of Czechs used a nationwide vacation Friday to rally within the capital in opposition to the pro-Western authorities and its assist for Ukraine’s struggle in opposition to the Russian invasion.

The rally follows two others at Prague’s central Wenceslas Sq. and was smaller than the 70,000 who gathered for a similar causes on Sept. 3, based on police estimates.

Held beneath the slogan “The Czech Republic first,” a reference to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s nationalist platform, the protest united the far proper with the far left and numerous fringe teams. Its organizers are identified for pro-Russian views and opposition to COVID-19 vaccines.

With hovering power, meals and housing costs hitting the nation, the protesters have been demanding the resignation of the coalition authorities led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

“Resign!” they chanted whereas waving the nationwide flags.

The protesters have repeatedly condemned the federal government for its assist of Ukraine and the European Union sanctions in opposition to Russia, opposed Czech membership within the EU, NATO and different worldwide organizations such because the United Nations and the World Well being Group, .

“Russia’s not our enemy, the federal government of warmongers is the enemy,” one speaker mentioned.

A smaller rally was held within the nation’s second-largest metropolis of Brno.

The federal government has dismissed these calls for.

“We all know who’s our pal and who’s bleeding for our freedom,” Inside Minister Vit Rakusan tweeted. “And we additionally know who’s our enemy.”

Czechia has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine, donated heavy weapons to the Ukrainian military and given about 450,000 visas to Ukrainian refugees that give them entry to well being care, monetary assist, work permits and different advantages.

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Fiala and several other ministers have been planning to journey to Kyiv on Monday for a joint assembly of the Czech and Ukrainian governments.

“We intensively assist the justified struggle of the Ukrainian folks in opposition to the Russian aggression,” Fiala mentioned Saturday.

Though the nation’s populist opposition made some good points within the municipal election final month, the 5 ruling coalition events received large within the vote earlier this month for one-third of the seats in Parliament’s higher home, the Senate.