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Thousands rally in Prague to protest against simmering inflation, government's military support for Ukraine

Thousands attended the "Czechia against poverty" protest in central Prague, on March 11, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of protesters have rallied in Prague to protest against the government’s military support for Ukraine and simmering costs of living, as they demanded the resignation of the Czech government.

The protesters gathered in Wenceslas Square, in a move that was organized by the political party PRO.

"We will do everything in our power to make sure that this government's national catastrophe of Petr Fiala (prime minister of the Czech Republic) ends as soon as possible", said Jindrich Rajchl, leader of PRO, who attended the demonstration.

"What is going on here is unprecedented, the government cares about the stuff it should not, it does not care about people, you can see that", said a protester.

Demonstrators demanded a halt to arms deliveries to Kiev and asked the government to hold a peace conference in Prague.

People also held banners explicitly protesting against the country’s membership in the US-led NATO.

The Czech Republic has been battling record-high inflation for a year, which has mainly been caused because of a spike in energy prices due to the war in Ukraine.

"We have gathered here today to take a stand against this poverty," Rajchl told the crowd of protesters.

The demonstrators also called on the center-right government of Petr Fiala to resign, while Rajchl said he wanted leaders who "care about the interests of Czech citizens first".

According to critics, Fiala’s government has been caring more about Ukraine rather than its own citizens, as he sends huge amounts of military and other aid to the conflict-torn country.

Angry protesters slammed NATO and also even tore down a Ukrainian flag from the National Museum building at the top of Wenceslas Square.

Last September, over 70,000 people gathered in the Czech capital under the motto 'Czech Republic First' to demand the resignation of Fiala's government, as they also protested against rising prices, immigration policies, and other current issues.

In February, annual inflation in the EU and NATO member state of 10.5 million people reached 16.7 percent. This was well above the tolerance threshold of 3 percent set by the Czech National Bank.

According to an analytical prediction, performed by PAQ Research and published by Czech Radio in December 2022, up to 30 percent of households in the Czech Republic could fall into poverty on the back of rising energy and housing costs this year.

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