'Ami go home': Protesters march on US embassy against Czech-American defense deal

The protest organized by the Communist Party also condemned the US for providing heavy weapons to the Ukrainian army.


Written by ČTK Published on 24.05.2023 10:30:00 (updated on 24.05.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

Dozens of people gathered outside the U.S. embassy in Prague Tuesday evening to protest against the signing of the Czech-U.S. Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) by the two states' defense ministers in Washington earlier in the day.

The protest organized by the Czech Peace Movement group and the Communist Party (KSČM), carried communist flags and chanted "Ami go home," demanding the resignation of the government of Petr Fiala and calling on Defense Minister Jana Černochová not to return from her visit to the U.S.

The demonstration took place without any major incidents, although one of the protesters raised the Russian flag and another wrapped himself in the flag of the Soviet Union.

Černochová, who was repeatedly referred to as the "minister of war" by protest speakers, signed the DCA in Washington D.C. alongside her American counterpart, Lloyd Austin. The Czech cabinet approved the signing of the treaty in April.

The agreement aims to make it easier for U.S. troops to stay in the Czech Republic in the future. It specifically addresses their legal status if they carry out missions in the country. Additionally, it outlines a list of Czech military facilities and premises that the U.S. armed forces can utilize, subject to predetermined conditions. These facilities and premises will continue to be fully owned by the Czech Republic.

During Tuesday's demonstration, Milan Krajča, the deputy chairman of KSCM, referred to the treaty as "vassal-like" and urged people to oppose it, drawing parallels to the successful rebellion against the construction of a U.S. radar base in the Brdy hills, southwest of Prague, a few years ago.

Krajča said that none of the government parties had ever included such a treaty in their programs, and the people of the country had not been given the opportunity to democratically express their views on the significant issue of foreign troop presence.

However, the government clarified in April that the treaty does not grant the United States the authority to station troops on Czech territory without the consent of the Czech parliament. They emphasized that the new agreement would not alter this requirement.

Other speakers at the event included representatives from No to Bases and the Communist Youth Union. During his speech, the speaker from the Young Communists group heavily criticized the United States for its military activities in the Middle East.

They also condemned the U.S. for allegedly "providing heavy weapons to the Ukrainian army, including troops with ties to Nazi ideology" who supposedly used these weapons to target civilian areas in the Donbass region.

Furthermore, the speaker highlighted the development of capitalism as a root cause of war, stating that war is a manifestation of this capitalist system.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement or its equivalent is commonly held between the U.S. and most NATO countries. Similarly, the Czech-U.S. agreement requires approval from both chambers of the Czech Parliament and must be signed by the president to take effect.

"Ami - go home!" was a slogan or political catchphrase, similar to the sentiment expressed by "Yankee go home" or the phrase "go home!" in English, that gained significant popularity in Western European countries and Eastern bloc nations after the Second World War. It was primarily aimed at opposing the presence of U.S. military forces within a country.

In the past, the Czech Peace Movement, with support from organizations such as No to Bases and the Communists, organized protests against the supply of arms to Ukraine.

"We intend to continue our protests in the coming days, the next one is scheduled for Tuesday, May 30, in front of the Czech Chamber of Deputies building at Prague's Malostranské náměstí. However, this will not be the only action, we must also take to the streets in other cities," Krajča told the crowd.

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