Czechs Rally by the Thousands in Prague Against Government Policies
Thousands of Czech citizens gathered at Prague’s Wenceslas Square in a powerful demonstration against the government’s policies. Under the banner of “Czech Republic against the government,” the protest primarily voiced concerns about government actions related to rising inflation, tax changes, and pension adjustments. Among the crowd were banners bearing slogans like “Down with the US minions” and “Down with NATO,” as reported by the Czech News Agency (CTK).
The event, which attracted more than 100,000 attendees, according to the organizing non-parliamentary PRO (Law Respect Expertise) party, saw some participants later marching through the city from Wenceslas Square to the headquarters of the Czech Interior Ministry, as noted by the Xinhua news agency.
Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Vit Rakusan, characterized the demonstration as “a legitimate expression of discontent by some people in difficult times.” However, he expressed his concern that using this discontent to incite hatred and fear was both incomprehensible and unacceptable.
A recent survey conducted by the Center for Public Opinion Research in Prague revealed widespread dissatisfaction among Czechs regarding the country’s economic situation. Out of the 929 people surveyed between May 16 to July 24, 57 percent perceived the economic situation as bad, approximately a quarter considered it “neither good nor bad,” and 16 percent viewed it as good.
The Czech Statistical Office (CSU) reported a 0.6 percent year-on-year decline in the real GDP of the Czech Republic in the second quarter of this year. The Czech Finance Ministry’s August forecast suggested a potential 0.2 percent decline for the entire year.
Inflation in the Czech Republic remained a significant concern, with consumer prices increasing by 8.5 percent year-on-year in August, according to the CSU. While this represented the seventh consecutive month of slowing inflation, it remained well above the two percent tolerance band set by the Czech National Bank.