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Czech Republic: Massive protests against government's pro-Western policies

8 months ago 35

On Saturday, thousands of supporters of a pro-Russian opposition party in the Czech Republic gathered in Prague to protest against the nation’s center-right administration and denounce its handling of the economy and military assistance for Ukraine.

The PRO movement, which has a nationalist, pro-Moscow, and anti-Western stance and is not represented in parliament, called the demonstration.

About 10,000 people, according to the news agency CTK, attended, which is less than the identical protest from a year ago, when energy prices in Europe were at their highest.

“We made another step today to move out of the way the rock that is the government of Mr (Prime Minister Petr) Fiala,” PRO leader Jindrich Raichl told the crowd in Prague’s Wenceslas Square.

“They are agents of foreign powers, people who fulfil orders, ordinary puppets. And I do not want a puppet government any more,” Raichl said, saying the Czech Republic should veto any attempt by Ukraine to join NATO.

The Czech Republic has been a close supporter of Ukraine under the present administration, providing Ukrainian soldiers opposing Russia’s incursion with tanks, rocket launchers, helicopters, artillery shells, and other supplies.

Raichl praised Viktor Orban, the prime minister of Hungary, for his nationalist initiatives and urged Central European nations to band together to oppose Brussels.

Ahead of elections on September 30, he also expressed support for Robert Fico, the former prime minister of Slovakia who has taken a stridently anti-Western position.

Among other policies, protester and mother-of-three Marcela Hajkova criticised the government’s military assistance to Ukraine.

“We are not a sovereign country, we listen to Brussels,” she said. “Why send weapons to Ukraine, why don’t they strive for peace?”

The government’s management of the economy, which has experienced double-digit inflation and lagged its counterparts in Europe with output still not returning to pre-COVID levels, was also condemned by protesters.

Without providing any other information, police claimed in a social media post that they had apprehended one man at the demonstration sporting a patch for the Russian private military firm Wagner Group on suspicion of aiding genocide.

(With agency inputs)

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