Thousands gather at ‘Czech Republic First’ rally over energy crisis

In Prague, approximately 70,000 protesters assembled to express their opposition to escalating energy costs and call for an alleviation of sanctions imposed on Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine, leading to a period of dissatisfaction in the Czech Republic.

At a rally called “First Czech Republic,” extreme-left and far-right elements united to urge Petr Fiala, the prime minister of the centre-right government, to resign while also demanding Ukraine to receive arms and gas supplies from Moscow through a new agreement.

The demonstration took place in Square Wenceslas, historically a site of mass dissent, in Prague, the capital of Czech, marking the end of a relatively calm period in domestic politics since December last year.

His five-party coalition survived a parliamentary vote of confidence on Friday, triggered by the opposition’s accusation that the government, unable to deal with rising domestic fuel bills and bring inflation under control, has seen the highest inflation rate among the EU, which has surged to 18%.

About 400,000 Ukrainian refugees have been granted residence in the Czech Republic since Ukraine invaded Russia. The arrival of these refugees has led to complaints and calls for military neutrality. The rally was organized in part by the remnants of the Communist Party, which once ruled former Czechoslovakia, and the far-right parties Direct Democracy and Freedom.

“It is not completely certain if it is Czech, but according to Zuzana Zahradníková Majerová, a member of the Trikolora party, the protesters from the hard-right anti-right EU party may be from Brussels or the Ukrainian government. They were seen marching alongside banners bearing slogans such as “The best for us and for Ukrainians” while wearing two jumpers.”

Some demonstrators wore T-shirts praising Russian President Vladimir Putin, while carrying banners voicing anti-Nato and anti-EU sentiment. The Czech Republic has been one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine’s alliance in the western region.

If the government does not step down before 25 September, organizers have promised to hold additional protests, including one scheduled for the significant date of 28 September, Czech state day.

The former professor of politics and leader of the Democratic Civic Party (ODS), Fiala, dismissed the Russian propaganda and extremist demonstration.

The protest on Wenceslas Square, he stated, was orchestrated by groups that support Russia, hold radical views, and go against the interests of the Czech Republic. It is evident that Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns are present on our soil, and unfortunately, some individuals are receptive to them.

On Monday, Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, is scheduled to visit Prague to discuss the Fiala energy crisis. Non-opposition voices, however, have cautioned against the potentially calamitous consequences of the looming winter energy crisis.

Pavel Blažek, the Minister of Justice and a member of the Prime Minister’s party, warned last week of the risks of government collapse and riots in the absence of a resolution to the energy crisis in this country’s political system, he said.

Boris Cvek, a Czech commentator writing on the Britské Listy website, exclaimed, “That completely astonished me. By the afternoon, it had reached 70,000. When I read in the morning that there were 5,000 people there, I gestured with my hand, assuming that there would be no additional attendees.”

It is certainly not advisable for us to abandon peace, especially when we can clearly see how this man can threaten the very essence of an experienced and ancient democracy like America. The agenda of Donald Trump is suspiciously reminiscent of this.