Protesters criticised the Czech 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.

Protesters held banners like
Protesters held banners like "end the comedy" and many waved Czech flags. (Reuters)

Tens of thousands of Czechs have gathered in Prague to protest against the government's handling of soaring energy prices and the country's membership of NATO and the European Union.

The demonstration on a national holiday in Prague's main square, organised on Wednesday by far-right groups and parties including the Communists, was estimated at "lower tens of thousands" by the police, compared to 70,000 on September 3.

The organising group "Czech Republic First!" opposes the European Union and NATO and calls for the central European nation of 10.7 million to be militarily neutral.

"Resign, resign," they repeatedly chanted during a demonstration.

Protesters held banners like "End the comedy" and many waved Czech flags.

"This government is absolutely anti-Czech. It only serves Brussels (EU centre), American power and NATO. It has no regard for Czech citizens' interests," said Pavel Nebel, 53.

READ MORE: Energy crisis leaves Italians torn between far-right surge and indecision

'Dilution of the nation'

The organisers, whose programme also demands an end to "planned dilution of the nation", opened the protest with the national anthem, after which speakers took to the stage denouncing the government.

"A government has two duties: to ensure our security and economic prosperity. This government does not fulfil either of these duties," one speaker said.

Hundreds of people gathered in other cities, where they could watch online streaming of the protest held in Prague, media reported.

High energy prices, fuelled by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have piled pressure on governments across Europe to cushion the blow of mounting energy costs for consumers and businesses.

The Czech government has signed up to EU sanctions against Russia and taken a tough stance over the Russian offensive in Ukraine. Miroslav Sevcik, a dean at Prague University of Economics and Business and the first speaker at the Prague protest, called for scrapping of the sanctions.

The centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala this month adopted a string of measures, including financial aid for companies and price caps on electricity for households.

READ MORE: Ankara hits back at Czech Republic, EU over anti-Türkiye remarks

Source: TRTWorld and agencies