(Natural News) Thousands of demonstrators in the Czech Republic took to the streets, calling for a neutral stance over the Russia-Ukraine war and direct talks with Moscow on gas supplies as Europe faces a cold, dark winter.
The protests coincided with the Czech National Day holiday on Oct. 28. The demonstrators gathered at the Wenceslas Square in the capital Prague, waving the country’s flags and carrying banners that denounced inflation, low wages and high energy prices.
Various political groups supported the gathering, including the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and Czech Republic First (CRF). They demanded both early elections to replace current Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and direct negotiations with Moscow for natural gas.
According to Reuters, CRF opposes Prague’s involvement in the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It also wants the landlocked Central European nation, which is home to 10.7 million people, to be a neutral party in the Russia-Ukraine war.
An unnamed protest organizer from CRF remarked: “We want the Czech Republic to return to Czech hands.”
Ladislav Vrabel, another protest organizer, said: “This is a new national revival, and its goal is for the Czech Republic to be independent. When I see a full square, no one can stop this.” (Related: 70,000 protesters swarm Prague in protest of energy crisis: “Europe on the brink.”)
Under Fiala’s leadership, Prague has signed up to EU sanctions against Russia. To address the crisis resulting from the sanctions imposed on Moscow, the Czech Republic adopted a string of measures such as financial aid for companies and price caps on electricity for households.
The Czech Republic has also emerged as one of Ukraine’s main partners, alongside Poland and the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Data from the Czech Ministry of Defense revealed that Prague has sent €1.9 billion ($1.88 billion) worth of military equipment to Kyiv, and almost €168 million ($166.19 million) for other types of support. The Central European nation has also let in some 450,000 Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge from the conflict, ever since the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in late February.
Fiala turns a blind eye to protesters’ demands
Given that the Czech Republic is heavily reliant on natural gas from Russia, the country was one of many seriously impacted by the energy crisis. Czech households reported the second highest electricity prices among EU member nations, second only to Estonia.
The Czech Statistical Office (CZSO) reported Oct. 25 that year-on-year inflation in the country soared to 18 percent in September 2022, the highest in 30 years. This equated to a 0.8 percent increase from the 17.2 percent inflation rate in August, with energy and fuel costs bearing the most brunt.
Pavla Sediva, who heads the CZSO’s consumer price statistics unit, said in a statement: “This acceleration was the most influenced by items in housing, mainly by prices of energy and fuels, which were higher by almost 50 percent, year-on-year.”
The statement added that the price of wheat flour increased by almost 70 percent, the price of oils and fats rose by more than 50 percent and the price of milk and sugar skyrocketed by about half. Consumer prices in retails stores also surged by an average of almost one percent.
In spite of this, Fiala and his cabinet dismissed the protesters’ demands.
“We intensively support the justified fight of the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggression,” said the prime minister.
Meanwhile, Czech Interior Minister Vit Rakusan tweeted: “We know who’s our friend, and who’s bleeding for our freedom. We also know who our foes are, and we will not let them steal our patriotism.”
One unidentified speaker at the Oct. 28 Wenceslas Square rally ultimately lamented how the Czech government is not doing its job properly.
“A government has two duties – to ensure our security and economic prosperity,” the unidentified said. “The government does not fulfill either of these duties.”
Revolt.news has more stories about protests in Europe.
Watch this footage of earlier protests in Prague against the energy crisis, the EU and NATO.
This video is from the Puretrauma357 channel on Brighteon.com.
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