An estimated 70,000 people protested in Prague against the Czech government on Saturday (September 3), calling on the ruling coalition to do more to control soaring energy prices and voicing opposition to the European Union and NATO.
Organizers of the demonstration from several far-right and fringe political groups including the Communist party said the central European nation should be neutral militarily and ensure direct contracts with gas suppliers, including Russia.
Police estimates put the number of protesters at around 70,000 by mid-afternoon.
The leader of the right-wing Tri Colour Movement, Zuzana Majerova called for the Czech government to drop sanctions against Moscow, which impacts “our people, our businessmen, and our country.”
“This war is not ours. And you cannot end the war by not talking about peace. To achieve peace, the only thing we can do is to stop sending arms and therefore make last a conflict that does not concern us,” she told protesters at the rally.
The protest at Wenceslas Square in the city center was held a day after the government survived a no-confidence vote amid opposition claims of inaction against inflation and energy prices.
The vote showed how Europe’s energy crisis is fueling political instability as soaring power prices stoke inflation, already at levels unseen in three decades.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who leads the center-right, five-party coalition, told CTK news service on Saturday that the protesters did not have the country’s best interests at heart.
“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 said.