Prague tightens security amid planned Palestinian protest

Although the Czech interior minister dismissed claims that the demonstration would be Hamas-affiliated, he urged caution about potential dangers. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 13.10.2023 10:00:00 (updated on 13.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said on Thursday that a possible demonstration organized by Palestinians in Prague’s city center could pose risks. As a result, authorities have tightened security measures in the capital. 

Uncertainty about the protest organizers

Parliament member Radek Koten claimed earlier that “Palestinian militants” were planning a demonstration on Wenceslas Square. However, there is no record of such an event listed among the public gatherings scheduled for the upcoming days in the capital. There are also no concrete details of when any protest would be.

Rakušan, who immediately dismissed the notion that the demonstration convener would be Hamas, suggested that it would likely be an organization operating legally within the Czech Republic. Koten on the other hand believes that the convener could potentially be one of the groups that Israel and other Western nations classified as terrorists.

More security deployed

The interior minister assured MPs that, currently, there is no security threat of terrorist attacks based on information provided by state security services. In response to the recent Israel-Gaza attacks, security measures have been heightened around sites and monuments across Czechia associated with Jewish history and the state of Israel. Prague police have also deployed more officers onto the streets of Prague.

With regard to the planned demonstration by Palestinians, the minister emphasized that neither the police nor the ministry can restrict the right to assemble in advance, as long as all legal requirements are met. However, in line with standard protocols for potentially risky events, the police will closely monitor calls for violence, genocide, and racial or ethnic hatred. 

Czech support for Israel

Around 100 demonstrators congregated in rainy conditions at Wenceslas Square on Monday afternoon to show support for Israel. More than 2,800 people in Israel and Gaza have been killed, and thousands of others have been injured, since the launch of the Hamas attack on Israel last Saturday, according to Yahoo News.

Czechia has displayed strong support for Israel in the past week, with senior ministers – such as Prime Minister Petr Fiala and Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský – expressing support for the state. Fiala also emphasized his wish to move the Czech embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv where it is currently located. President Petr Pavel is also due to visit Israel in January.

Czechia this week lit up several of its buildings in blue-and-white colors, and also hoisted the Israeli flag outside several of its government buildings, including the Chamber of Deputies. Lipavský was also the first foreign minister of the Western world to visit Israeli government ministers following the attack.

As the possibility of the Palestinian demonstration looms in Prague, the government has assured that security preparations are in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents and visitors in the city.

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