Tens of thousands of Czech protesters gather in Prague to demand end of sanctions against Russia, withdrawal from EU and NATO
Tens of thousands of Czech demonstrators have taken to the streets of Prague
, the capital of the Czech Republic, to demand an end on sanctions against Russia and for direct negotiations with Moscow regarding gas supplies to end the country's energy crisis.
The protests were held on Friday, Oct. 28, in and around one of Prague's main public squares
, Wenceslas Square. The protests coincided with the National Day of the Czech Republic, which commemorates the creation of the first truly independent Czechoslovakian state in 1918.
The protesters also called for the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Fiala and for early elections
. (Related: 70,000 protesters swarm Prague in protest of energy crisis: "Europe on the brink."
The protest was organized by Czech Republic First!, an organization that opposes Czech membership in both the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and wants the country of nearly 11 million to be militarily neutral.
Protesters waved Czech flags along with flags of certain political parties supportive of Czech Republic First!'s goals, including both the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy party and the far-left Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.
The protesters were also carrying signs calling for the Czech Republic's exit from NATO and the EU, and were chanting slogans calling for the prime minister to resign.
"We want the Czech Republic to return to Czech hands," said one member of the organizing group.
"This is a new national revival and its goal is for the Czech Republic to be independent," said Ladislav Vrabel, another event organizer. "When I see a full square, no one can stop this."
Czech Republic's support for Ukraine, sanctions against Russia fuel protests
Since the beginning of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, the Czech Republic has emerged as one of Kyiv's main partners, along with other countries in the EU like Poland and the Baltic States (Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia).
Fiala's government signed up with the rest of the EU's sanctions against Russia almost immediately and has taken a tough stance over the conflict.
According to data from the Czech Ministry of Defense
, Prague has provided Ukraine with around 1.9 billion euros ($1.89 billion) worth of military equipment – everything from tanks to ammunition
. It has also provided Kyiv with 168 million euros worth of other types of support ($167 million).
Over 450,000 Ukrainian citizens have also become refugees in the Czech Republic, all of whom have been given visas, granting them access to taxpayer-funded social services such as healthcare and financial aid.
All of this has led to skyrocketing energy prices and inflation – which reached 18 percent in September year-over-year. This has pressured Fiala's government to pass a series of measures to cushion the blow of mounting operating costs for businesses and cost of living for everyone else, including providing companies with financial aid and instituting price caps on power and natural gas for households and small businesses.
"Russia's not our enemy, the government of warmongers is the enemy," said one speaker at the protest.
for more news about social unrest due to ongoing energy crisis in Europe.
Watch this short clip featuring tens of thousands of Czech people marching through Prague
This video is from the GalacticStorm channel on Brighteon.com.
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