Thousands in Czech Republic protest rising energy bills, government’s Russia-Ukraine policy

70,000 gather in iconic square under 'Czech Republic in the first place'.

Thousands in Czech Republic protest rising energy bills, government’s Russia-Ukraine policy

An estimated 70,000 people gathered Saturday in the Czech capital of Prague to protest rising energy bills and the government's policy on the Russia-Ukraine war.

Protesters gathered in the iconic Wenceslas Square under the slogan of the "Czech Republic in the first place" and demanded the resignation of the current government led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

They demanded an end to EU sanctions that they see as the reason behind the deteriorating economic situation -- arguing that the Czech Republic should be neutral.

Fiala characterized the protest as "pro-Russian," noting it is against the national interests. He said some in the Czech Republic are affected by Russian propaganda and disinformation campaigns.

The Czech government has supported Ukraine since the start of the war with ammunition and logistics. It is also home to more than 400,000 Ukrainian refugees.

The Czech Republic took the term presidency of the EU in July for six months.

The US and the EU have implemented sweeping sanctions on Russia to pressure it into ending the war in Ukraine, which entered its seventh month.

Hüseyin Demir

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