Prague - About 100 participants in the "Save Ukraine - Maidan International, Prague" meeting in the centre of Prague today called for stricter sanctions against Russia and more courage and stronger will of Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka in relation to developments in eastern Ukraine.
Shromáždění "Zachraňme Ukrajinu - Maidan International, Prague" se konalo 31. srpna na pražském Staroměstském náměstí. Organizátoři chtějí přimět vládu k významné pomoci Ukrajině a zamýšlejí, že na náměstí postaví nepřetržitou stanovou osadu. ČTK Doležal Michal
Today´s meeting launched continuous protests and activities of a symbolic "tent settlement" organised by the Kaputin group on Old Town Square it the historical centre.
Organiser Michal Majzner says the event has been approved until November 18. However, the organisers must yet get a permit for staying overnight on the square.
"I personally will be here the whole night. We want to find out how it is to spend a protest night on Old Town square, and we will keep repeating what the prime minister of this country must do for its defence and in aid of Ukraine," Majzner told CTK
On Wednesday, he will join the hunger strike marking the victims of the communist regime that is organised by the Bez komunistu (Without Communists) movement.
"Our aim is to create the 'Prague Maidan' on Old Town square that will be permanently exerting pressure on the government," he added.
Their demands include the sending of a field hospital to Ukraine, Czech fighters patrolling over its territory, easing visa procedure for Ukrainians, an information campaign in favour of the Kiev government and the training of Ukrainian soldiers.
At present, there is an information stand on the square and two tents for staying overnight.
Participants in the meeting carried dozens of Ukrainian flags and a Czech one as well as banners reading "Stop Putin!" and "For Our and Your Freedom".
Majzner said he believed that the number of activists and tents would rise in the days to come.
Activists from Kaputin (The Democrats - Let Us Stop Putin!) group called on Sobotka to more support Ukraine in its fight against Russia at a rally on Wenceslas square in Prague on August 17.
The activists wanted to publicly point out the problem of Russian policy and this is why they started staging street "Maidan" meetings, entitled after Kiev's Independence Square, the scene of major anti-regime demonstrations.
Kaputin group held the first "Maidan" rally outside the Russian embassy in Prague in late July to commemorate the victims of the Malaysian Boeing plane that was shot down above the Ukrainian territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Sobotka (senior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said today, after the EU summit, the peace plan of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was the only way out of the crisis in Ukraine.
Sanctions against Russia have no strong effect and the Czech Republic has reserved the right to disagree with part of the EU´s proposal for tightening sanctions against Russia if they caused too high economic losses, Sobotka added.
The government will debate the sanctions next week.
However, the right-wing opposition as well as junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) chairman Pavel Belobradek criticised Sobotka for his reserved stance on further sanctions.