CZECH REPUBLIC: Thousands of Czechs protested rising energy and inflation prices in Prague, calling on the government to step down. The protest was organised by PRO, which has lambasted the centre-right administration of Prime Minister Petr Fiala for handling the energy crisis. A similar rally was staged in March.
PRO has criticised the government for limiting free speech and urged it to work towards a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine War. Jindrich Rajchl, the protest organiser and leader, warned the audience to “collect the last remnants of their honour and resign.” A march to the government building was planned.
The Czech Republic has been impacted by inflation and high energy prices, leading to a strain on household budgets. Fiala has attempted to reduce the load on individuals and businesses while also controlling large budget deficits.
Recently, Fiala has been the target of smaller demonstrations for reducing the rate of inflation-linked increases in state pensions.
Support for the five-party coalition was declining, according to a recent Kantar survey for Czech TV, with the major opposition party, the ANO of former prime minister Andrej Babis, increasing its lead over Fiala’s party to 29% from 20%.
Rajchl’s group is prepared to take the protests to new heights, as inflation has dropped to 15% in March from 16.7% in February and 17.5% the month before. They also demand the Czech government stop taking steps to reduce false information and fake news.
The Czech Republic has backed the Kyiv administration since the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, accepting nearly 500,000 migrants and giving the Ukrainian military weapons. Defence Minister Jana Cernochova was referred to as the biggest security risk for the country.
At a demonstration, some attendees signed a petition requesting that the nation leave NATO, and a march to the government building was scheduled for later on Sunday. Petr Fiala, the prime minister, is currently in Asia.