Last Saturday more than 120,000 people gathered in Prague’s Wenceslaus Square to demonstrate against government austerity. It was the climax of a week of protest—as well as the biggest demonstration in the Czech Republic since the “Velvet Revolution” against the old Stalinist regime in 1989.
The “Stop the Government” platform that called the demonstration united trade unionists, civic initiatives and activists from a broad political spectrum. So far 64 organisations have signed up and more are continuing to come onboard.
The Czech right-wing coalition government is trying to push through a series of austerity measures—introducing university tuition fees, freezing pensions, hiking up VAT and privatising health care job centres.
But it is shaken by internal fights between coalition parties—and now by a mass protest movement, which has pledged to continue organising against their austerity programme.
The anti-cuts ProAlt initiative has been organising protests since the government took office in summer 2010, but now it is part of a powerful anti-cuts coalition that can oppose the neoliberal logic of Czech austerity.
Jan Majicek is an organiser for the ProAlt initiative