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Czechs rally in Prague to protest against gov't

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-09-17 07:29

Demonstrators take part in an anti-government protest in Prague, Czech Republic, September 16, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

PRAGUE -- Thousands of Czechs gathered at Prague's Wenceslas Square in the Czech capital on Saturday to protest against the government.

Under the slogan "Czech Republic against the government," the rally was mainly against the inappropriate actions of the government on inflation, tax changes and pension adjustments. There were also banners in the crowd that read "Down with the US minions" and "Down with NATO," according to the Czech News Agency (CTK).

The rally was attended by over 100,000 people, according to the organizer, the non-parliamentary PRO (Law Respect Expertise) party.

Some of the participants later marched through the city from the Square to the headquarters of the Czech Ministry of the Interior. Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan told CTK that he sees the demonstration as "a legitimate expression of discontent by some people in difficult times," but that he finds it incomprehensible and unacceptable to use that discontent to incite hatred and fear.

A recent survey by the Center for Public Opinion Research in Prague showed that the majority of Czechs were unhappy about the country's economic situation. Out of the 929 people surveyed between May 16 to July 24, 57 percent perceive the economic situation as bad, about a quarter consider it "neither good nor bad," and 16 percent take it as good.

According to the Czech Statistical Office (CSU), the real gross domestic product (GDP) of the Czech Republic declined by 0.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of this year. For the whole year, the Czech Finance Ministry predicted in its August forecast that it could fall by 0.2 percent.

Consumer prices in the Czech Republic, meanwhile, increased by 8.5 percent year-on-year in August, according to the CSU. Although the inflation slowed for the seventh consecutive month, it remained well above the tolerance band of 2 percent set by the Czech National Bank.

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