According to Czech TV editor Ondřej Pražák, many speakers and participants in the demonstration called for the resignation of Petr Fiala’s cabinet. “And for many reasons. According to the speakers and participants, one of them is dissatisfaction with the current situation, rising inflation and the way the government is dealing with food prices,” Prajak explained.
“Other points of criticism raised by one of the recent topics – slowing down of extraordinary valuation of pensions,” said the author. Ondage Tostal, a lawyer who has worked with pirates in the past, said on stage that the government’s amendment to the low valuation of pensions was unconstitutional, which drew a strong response from the participants.
According to Brazak, words about the war in Ukraine were also heard at the demonstration. “Participants and speakers here must stop supplying weapons to Kiev or hang the Ukrainian flag on the building of the National Museum,” he added.
Call to tear down the Ukrainian flag from the National Museum
After the event, several hundred protesters marched in front of the museum building and called for the removal of the Ukrainian flag. Several others from the other side of the highway cheered them on, shouting “Take off the rags.” Later, they called out the slogan “Bohemia for the Czechs”, which in a few minutes they changed to “Czech flag”.
Police called on the demonstrators at the museum to leave, and heavy military personnel arrived at the scene and blocked the entrance to the museum. After that, the police security forces came. Several fights broke out on the steps in front of the museum, with the crowd on the opposite side of the highway shouting “shame” at the police and “they are beating our people”. After about an hour, the protestors started to disperse.
According to police spokeswoman Violeta Siřišťová, several dozen people tried to enter the museum. After repeated calls, the police arrested eighteen of them for not accepting the calls. Two police officers were injured and hospitalized.
Rajchal: If the government does not accept the demands, the protest will be held again
“Today (Saturday, Editor’s Note) We have come together to face this tragedy. Never again will we be ruled by signal transmitters, sweater knitters, owners of handbag bins or people who play military simulations on mobile phones. So the interests of multinational corporations will never rule again in this country, but we are ruled by a government that puts the interests of the citizens of the Czech Republic first,” said lawyer Jinderich Rajchl, who leads the PRO party.
At the end of the program, Rajchl said that if the government did not accept his party’s demands or step down by April 10, there would be another demonstration in Wenceslas Square on April 16, which would involve a blockade of government buildings.
Lawyer Tomáš Nielsen, choreographer Petr Zuska, director and screenwriter Igor Chan, former senator Alena Dernerová, epidemiologist Jiri Beren and doctor and former Olympian Lukáš Pollert sent a message via video.
Senator Jana Swirtek Hamblova (Independents) also spoke. He said on stage that he was starting to gain traction with some of his colleagues in the upper house of parliament. He also spoke about the fact that rules and legal order apply to politicians and even the highest constitutional authorities. “Our capital is not Brussels, or Washington, or Moscow, or Kiev, our capital is Prague and our country is called the Czech Republic,” he noted.
On Apledalova Street, people were standing the entire width of the square, and below it the crowd thinned out. The placards included inscriptions such as “Down with the violet clone machine”, “They are sweeping the state, including themselves” or “Stop the war, stop NATO”. They whistled, “Shame!”, “Resignation!” Or “scoundrels” they chanted.
Some watched the protest from the front entrance of the National Museum. “Several dozen people with opposing views to the opposition announced their own event, albeit a very small one,” explained ČT’s editor.
The demonstration was monitored by reinforced police units. “And those from the republic and those from the transport or criminal service,” Prajak explained. Apart from the detention of eighteen participants who tried to enter the museum building after the demonstration, there were no significant clashes.
“Nevertheless, several times the organizers asked the medical experts there to help some of the participants. (…) Even in these cases, it should not be a question of serious health problems,” he added.
Fiala: The speeches speak for themselves
According to government spokesman Vaclav Smolka, Prime Minister Fiala believes that the speeches and demands speak for themselves, so he sees no reason to comment further on Saturday’s anti-government demonstration in Prague’s Wenceslas Square.
The only motive the Austrian Minister of the Interior understands for the demonstration is the fear of poverty. “To face the menace of poverty, our state has enough operational tools in the form of a strong social system. It leaves no one helpless and it is still far from being utilized by all those entitled,” he said.
The outcome of the event, where some protesters gathered in front of the National Museum, was deemed unacceptable by the minister. “I expect the organizers to distance themselves from these violent manifestations. It gives the impression that the entire anti-poverty demonstration is just a cover for pro-Russian provocation, and we certainly cannot tolerate such manifestations,” the Austrian concluded.