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Mass anti-government protest hits Prague (VIDEOS) — Analysis

The protesters demanded the government’s resignation over soaring energy prices, inflation and military support of Ukraine

Tens of thousands hit central Prague on Saturday, taking part in a protest dubbed ‘Czech Republic First.’ The protesters urged the government to resign over soaring energy prices, inflation and the international policies they believe have brought the country to that state.

Police estimates say that around 70,000 people participated in the rally. Organisers put the number at 100,000. People of different political opinions were represented at the event, including the Communist Party and the right-wing Freedom and Direct Democracy Party.

“The aim of our demonstration is to demand change, mainly in solving the issue of energy prices, especially electricity and gas, which will destroy our economy this autumn,” one of the event’s co-organizers, social democrat Jiri Havel, told local media.

Protesters demanded that the Czech Republic adopt a neutral military position and secure gas supplier contracts, which would include Russia. They have also condemned the government for supporting the EU’s sanctions against Moscow, adopted in multiple waves in wake of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“The best for the Ukrainians and two sweaters for us,”The banner that was displayed at the event said, “referring to rising heating costs as well as potential energy cuts for winter.”

This protest was held just one day after the government won a no confidence vote on the same issues. The opposition blamed the government for not acting in the wake of rising energy prices and inflation.

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Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, leading the ruling five-party, center-right coalition, was quick to accuse the protesters of acting against the country’s best interests, implying the Kremlin might have had a hand in staging the protest.

“The protest on Wenceslas Square was called by forces that are pro-Russian, are close to extreme positions and are against the interests of the Czech Republic,”He spoke to CTK broadcaster. “It is clear that Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns are present on our territory and some people simply listen to them.”

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