Thousands of Czechs rally in support of Ukraine

Thousands of people rallied in Prague's historic centre on Sunday in support of Ukraine, which has been battling a Russian invasion since February.

Held under Czech, Ukrainian, EU and NATO flags, the "Czechia against fear" rally brought together participants from both countries to the iconic Wenceslas Square.

"This rally is very important because it is in support of Ukraine and it's a reminder that we have to support it and handle all that is happening in the world and in Ukraine well," Ukrainian student Irina Udod told AFP.

The Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with substantial military and humanitarian aid since the invasion started on February 24.

Speakers at the rally included Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who thanked the Czech Republic for support in a video message.

Banners targeted Russian President Vladimir Putin, depicted as a figurine sitting on a toilet as well as a puppet-corpse in a black coffin.

"Support to Ukraine is absolutely vital, because Ukraine won't make it without help," Petr Stepanek, also attending the rally, said.

Prague police put the number of participants in the "lower tens of thousands", just like on Friday when an anti-government protest was held in the same square.

Friday's rally, organised by a group with ties to the far-right scene, slammed the government for paying too much attention to Ukraine and neglecting its own people.

Protesters worried about soaring inflation pulled by high energy prices called on the centre-right government of Petr Fiala to step down.

An EU and NATO member of 10.5 million people, the Czech Republic currently holds the EU presidency.

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