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SEVENTY thousand demonstrators rallied in Prague on Saturday demanding the government resign over the soaring cost of living.
Mobilising for the demo, the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia said that inflation was at its highest since the Czech Republic was established, the number of households in poverty had doubled in just a year and sweeping cuts to health budgets were accompanied by massively increased spending on arms.
Communist Party leader Katerina Konecna said that “not only the government, but the entire system must be removed.”
Calling for voters to support the party in this month’s senate and municipal elections, she said “the system doesn’t have bugs — the system is itself a bug.”
The Petr Fiala government had turned Czech citizens into “paupers and serfs of the banks and energy companies,” she charged.
The huge demonstration, attended by right-wing as well as left groups, called for Czech withdrawal from Nato, ending arms supplies to Ukraine and a resumption of trade with Russia to bring down gas prices.
The communists said despite the range of political forces mobilising, many of which were anti-left, it was important for the left to demonstrate under its own banners and with its own proposals to “say stop to the government” and make it clear the left is on the side of people suffering in the current crisis.
The party has been organising rallies at memorials to the Red Army liberation of the country from the Nazis and at the sites of mass executions carried out by Germany during World War II to oppose attempts to rewrite history and demolish Soviet-era monuments, which have accelerated since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Fiala accused demonstrators of being “pro-Russia” and said such views were contrary to the interests of the Czech Republic.
He survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Friday, but the huge weekend demonstrations showed anger at the cost-of-living crisis is growing.
“The aim of our demonstration is to demand change, mainly in solving the issue of energy prices, especially electricity and gas, which will destroy our economy this autumn,” event co-organiser Jiri Havel said.
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