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Thousands rally to demand Czech government's resignation

Several thousands of protesters from the far right and far left gathered to rally against the country's pro-Western Czech government at the Vencesla's Square in Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands of protesters rallied again in the Czech capital on Wednesday to condemn the Czech government’s handling of the energy crisis and its support for Ukraine.

Despite a national holiday, the protest that united the far right with the far left was smaller than the some 70,000 people who gathered for the same reasons at Prague’s central Wenceslas Square on Sept 3.

Waving Czech national flags, the protesters demanded the resignation of the current pro-Western coalition government led by conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

“Resign, resign,” they repeatedly chanted during a demonstration held under the slogan “The Czech Republic first,” a reference to former U.S. President Donald Trump’s nationalist platform which he called “America first.”

They criticized the government on a number of issues, including supporting the European Union’s sanctions against Russia, and dismissed as insufficient the government’s help for households and businesses affected by soaring energy prices.

The organizers oppose Czech membership in the European Union and NATO and some other international organizations, such as the United nations and the World Health Organization.

Smaller protests were held in several other major cities.

Although the country’s opposition made some gains in the municipal elections last weekend, the five government coalition parties did relatively well in the separate first round of elections for one third of the seats on the Parliament’s upper house, the Senate. The runoffs are planned for the coming weekend.