Anti-government demonstration takes place in Wenceslas Square

Thousands of people gathered in Prague's Wenceslas Square on Sunday afternoon for an anti-government demonstration organised by the Právo Respekt Odbornost (PRO) party. The main demonstration organiser, lawyer and founder of the PRO party, Jindřich Rajchl, stated that the demonstrators are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Petr Fiala's government. Speakers at the protest criticised the government for its handling of the medicine shortage, energy crisis, and state budget deficit, as well as the planned cancellation of the airport in Líny near Pilsen, among other things.

The protestors carried Czech flags and banners with inscriptions such as "Down with NATO", "No war" and "The government and media are liars". Some counter-protesters carrying Ukrainian and European Union flags also gathered in front of the National Museum. Both groups shouted at each other but were kept apart from one another by the police.

After the protest on Wenceslas Square, which lasted about two hours, the demonstrators then marched to the Straka Academy, where the government headquarters are based.

A similar protest organised by the same people took place in March, which turned violent when a small portion of the protesters attempted to enter the National Museum building by force to tear down the Ukrainian flag hanging from it. Mr Rajchl referred to the March protest at Sunday's demonstration, saying that the protesters have no intention of removing the Ukrainian flag, and blamed the police for having provoked the March clash between protesters and police officers, during which 18 people were arrested and two police officers were injured.

In March, Mr Rajchl threatened a blockade of government buildings from mid-April if the protestors' demands were not met, but this week he instead said he wanted to form a human chain around the seat of the Government Office.

Police refused to estimate the number of protesters at Sunday's rally, but the Czech Agency reported that the numbers were similar to the March protest.

Author: Anna Fodor