Thousands rally against Czech 'Kremlin puppet' president

Prague, Czech Republic: Thousands of people gathered in Prague on Thursday to accuse President Milos Zeman of being a "Kremlin puppet" in the midst of a diplomatic crisis with Russia.

"We don't have a head of state, we have a Kremlin puppet," said one protester, Jirina Sladkova.

The rally was organized by the anti-government party Million Moments for Democracy, which organized the largest protest in the Czech Republic since communism's collapse in 2019.

The Czech Republic has accused Russia of being responsible for a deadly explosion at a weapons depot in 2014 and has expelled hundreds of Russian embassy personnel.

In unity, Slovakia, Romania, and the Baltic states have also expelled Russian diplomats, triggering tit-for-tat expulsions of their own diplomats in Moscow.

"Russian agents assassinate and the president remains quiet!" the rally's organizers exclaimed.

Zeman, who is pro-Russian and left of center, has remained relatively quiet since the row started this month, but he took a rare jab at Moscow last Sunday.

"This president is not serving the interests of our country," Czech singer Michael Kocab said from a podium on Wenceslas Square at Thursday's rally.

Kocab was instrumental in negotiating the withdrawal of Soviet forces from former Czechoslovakia in 1991, and he is now behind a petition demanding that Zeman be tried for treason.

COVER IMAGE COURTESY OF JOHN PAUL NEWMAN

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