Prague [Czech Republic], March 14: The Czech Minister of Culture, Martin Baksa, today told the protesters who tried to break into the National Museum in Prague and remove the banner in the colors of the Ukrainian flag from the building, that the sign should remain as a symbol of the solidarity of the Czechs with the country that was brutally attacked, while Russia targeted the liquidation of the Ukrainian cultural heritage.
"The Ukrainian flag or flags on the buildings of cultural institutions are not there by order of the minister. The institutions themselves believe that supporting Ukraine is important and I am proud of them. The National Museum is also a place that has a symbolic importance in our history of the fight for freedom. After all, bullet marks on the facades are the remnants of the 'brotherly aid' of the Soviet occupying army that shot at the museum (in 1968)," Baksa said.
He told the SeznamZpravi portal that it is not true that there are Ukrainian symbols on the building of the National Museum and that there are no Czech symbols.
"After the renovation, the masts in front of the building were restored and there are Czech flags on them. The banner in Ukrainian colors should remain at the National Museum as a reminder of support for Ukraine," Baksa said.
Like the Minister of the Interior Wit Rakušan immediately on Saturday, Baksa emphasized today that everyone has the right to protest and demonstrate against the government and express their opinions, but that it is unacceptable for a mass of people to forcefully try to break into the buildings of public institutions.
The organizers of the demonstration, where about 20,000 Czechs gathered on Wenceslas Square, called for the violent invasion of the crowd into the building of the National Museum, while there were tourists there, and the removal of the Ukrainian flag. Officially, that rally against the government was organized by the new protest extra-parliamentary radical party PravoPoštovanjePrakonost (PRO) under the slogan Czechia against poverty.
The protest also heard demands that the Czech Republic stop helping Ukraine, especially not sending weapons, and accusations against the government of Prime Minister PetarFijala that it supposedly cares more for Ukrainians than for Czechs.
The mass of several hundred demonstrators who, after the official end of the demonstration on Wenceslas Square, went to its top chanting "take off that cloth" and tried to forcefully enter the building and tear down the Ukrainian banner, were pushed out by the police, 20 demonstrators were arrested, and three police officers were injured.
Interior Minister VitRakusan asked the organizers to distance themselves from that violent part of the demonstration and to show that the demonstration against the government and its economic decisions is not just a simple covert pro-Russian provocation.
"I try to explain to people that helping Ukraine has nothing to do with the economic problems we are facing. On the contrary, some unpleasant economic consequences such as the rise in energy prices are caused by the aggression of Russian President Putin."
Incidental victim of Saturday's demonstrations is also the dean of the Faculty of Economics of the University of Economics in Prague, Miroslav Ševčik, who was called by the rector of the university and students to resign because he was in the crowd that tried to break into the National Museum by force.
Source: Beta News Agency