Thousands of people demonstrate in Wenceslas Square

Václav Šálek

An anti-government protest is taking place on Prague’s Wenceslas Square on the anniversary of the founding of independent Czechoslovakia, with participants calling for the resignation of the cabinet of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS). The “Nonviolent Revolution-Czech Republic in 1st Place” event is intended to follow up on the September demonstrations. Tens of thousands of people attended the event, police said.

Several presidential candidates, Josef Skála, Hynek Blaško, and Jaroslav Turánek, will also speak at the event. Former Prime Minister Jiří Paroubek, KSČM chairwoman Kateřina Konečná, and ex-MP Lubomír Volný are also expected to speak.

Around 70 000 people attended the rally in early September, while the turnout at the September 28 demonstration was significantly lower. While the previous protests were organized by the duo Jiří Havel and Ladislav Vrábel, today’s rally was organized by Vrábel alone.

Even Friday’s turnout did not reach that of the beginning of September, with tens of thousands fewer people on the square, according to police. They are protesting against the government, against the EU. They claim that Russia is not the enemy.

Paroubek said in his speech that the police figure is an underestimate.

“But I am afraid we are only at the beginning of a big crisis. We can all rightly worry that there will be no gas. I fear that thanks to the gambling energy policy of the Fiala government and Brussels, hundreds of Czech companies will go bankrupt, and hundreds of thousands of people will sooner or later find themselves on the pavement,” the former prime minister said. He called the government anti-national, arrogant, and arrogant.

The speakers said they would go to Czech television on November 17 so that millions of people could hear them.

The organizer said the government emerging from the election should resign, hold fresh elections, and hand the country’s administration to “pro-national experts.”

Initially, the government had a deadline of September 25 to resign; subsequently, the organizers, who, according to Prime Minister Fiala, are close to extremists and pro-Russian disinformers, promised to declare an unspecified right of resistance and coercive actions.

“Everyone has the right to go to demonstrate, to express their opinion in this way. We hear these opinions and do not take them lightly. On the other hand, it is also necessary for everyone to consider who is calling the demonstration. For what purpose,” Prime Minister Fiala, who attended the commemorative act at Vítkov, said on Friday about the planned protest.

Several dozen opponents of the event gathered in the upper part of the square.