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Demonstration against the high cost of living on Wenceslas Square

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Czechia – Several thousand people (10,000 according to the police, 100,000 according to the organizers) gathered on Wenceslas Square in central Prague on Saturday, September 16 at the call of the extra-parliamentary opposition movement Law, Respect, Expertise (PRO) to demonstrate against price rises in the Czech Republic.

PRO movement leader Jindřich Rajchl’s motto for the demonstration was “Czechia against the government”. The Czech daily Deník quotes various demonstrators as saying they wanted to

 do away with this government, which does nothing but harm to the country

and denouncing “expensive energy while the money goes abroad”: “We need to support our parents financially so they can get by and have a place to live.” That’s what we’ve come to.

We want a government that thinks about the people.

Alongside Czech flags, the demonstrators held up placards bearing slogans hostile to the government and also to Prime Minister Petr Fiala (Civic Democratic Party, or ODS) and Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents, or STAN), accusing the latter of being, among other things, “an anti-national collaborator and warmonger”, while some demonstrators called for an exit from the European Union and NATO.

Jindřich Rajchl made those words his own during his speech, claiming:

We don’t want a European Union government, we don’t want an American or Ukrainian government,

we don’t want a Russian or Chinese government, we want a government of the Czech Republic, of Czech citizens.” The leader of the PRO movement also deplored the fact that the Czech social and healthcare system is suffering “an influx of economic migrants from Ukraine”.

The demonstrators gathered at Wenceslas Square from 2 pm, and set off towards the Letná district at 4.45pm, before dispersing peacefully at 6.45pm.

This demonstration is another of a series of right-wing protests against Covid measures, inflation, and unconditional support for Ukraine.