People demonstrated in front of the government office

Pavel Jaňurek

Several hundred people demonstrated in front of the Straka Academy, where the government met in the afternoon. Most of the ministers were bypassed by the demonstrators, but the only one passing by, the head of the Education Ministry, Vladimír Balaš (STAN), was unnoticed by the demonstrators.

“I walked through there, but they didn’t notice me much,” Minister Balaš told reporters upon arriving at the Government Office, adding that he had taken a tram. He said that he did not know what the demonstrators were up to.

They were chanting slogans such as “Demise” or “Shame on the government.” They also brought flags and banners to the Straka Academy, calling on the prime minister and ministers not to drag the Czech Republic into war. They also sang the national anthem.

The organizers of the event, who have also called a demonstration for September 28 in Wenceslas Square under the name “The Czech Republic in 1st Place”, also want to hand over a petition for the government’s dismissal to President Miloš Zeman.

Deputy Prime Minister Vlastimil Válek (TOP 09) commented on the demonstration before the cabinet meeting. However, unlike his colleague Balaš, he arrived at the office from the back. “I will hardly drive through. It’s not even fair to the demonstrators to run them over with a car,” he said.

Válek also said the demonstration was proof of democracy. “That’s why we rang the keys in ’89,” he believes. “I cannot accept their arguments that we should negotiate with Russia. There is a terrorist who is murdering in Ukraine,” he added.

Indeed, the organizers are demanding, among other things, that the Czech Republic secure direct contracts with gas suppliers at low prices—i.e., primarily with the Russian Federation.