PRAGUE -- Tens of thousands of Czechs gathered in the capital on Sunday to demonstrate their solidarity with Ukraine and their support for democratic values.
The rally took place in reaction to three recent anti-government demonstrations where other protesters demanded the resignation of the pro-Western coalition government of conservative Prime Minister Petr Fiala for its support for Ukraine. Those earlier rallies also protested soaring energy prices and opposed the country’s membership in the European Union and NATO.
The organizers of the earlier rallies are known for spreading Russian propaganda and opposing COVID-19 vaccinations.
The people who turned out Sunday in Prague waved the Czech, Ukrainian and EU flags while displaying slogans that read “Czech Republic against fear” and “We will manage it.”
Sunday’s rally at central Wenceslas Square was organized by a group called Million Moments for Democracy, which was behind several rallies in support of Ukraine following the Feb 24 Russian invasion. The group also previously held massive rallies against the former prime minister, populist billionaire Andrej Babis, calling him a threat for democracy.
The group said the anti-government protests, which united the far right with the far left. exploited the people’s fear of inflation and the war in Ukraine and were trying to undermine democracy.
Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska, thanked those at the rallyin a video message. She said her country has been facing “the darkest moment in its history” but added hope that Russia's aggression won’t succeed.
Follow all AP stories on the impact of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine.