A demonstration criticizing Israel’s retaliatory actions in the Gaza Strip, following attacks by Hamas militants, is scheduled for today at 16:00 on Prague’s Wenceslas Square. Dozens of police officers, including those from the anti-conflict team, will be present to maintain security, as announced by Jan Daněk, the Prague police spokesperson. The Prague City Hall, led by its spokesperson Vít Hofman, has labeled the event as potentially risky and indicated their intention to have officials on-site who may intervene if necessary. The demonstration is organized by the civic initiative “Not in Our Name! – Initiative for a Just Peace in the Middle East.”
Jan Daněk emphasized that various police units, including uniformed officers, the criminal service, and the anti-conflict team, will be on-site, as is customary for such events, according to his statement to the Czech News Agency.
In light of recent events, police officers throughout the Czech Republic have been actively patrolling Jewish monuments and other locations following the Hamas attack on Israel, as previously reported by the X network. Although specific information about current threats has not yet been disclosed, Czech police are collaborating with other security forces and monitoring social media platforms for potential hate speech and related issues.
Vít Hofman from the City Hall explained that there are only a few circumstances in which authorities can ban a planned gathering. This includes cases where the event coincides with another, or when the stated purpose encourages violence or racial segregation. However, these conditions do not apply to today’s demonstration.
Regarding the Sunday rally, Hofman noted the potential risk associated with participants making speeches that contravene the law due to the event’s focus. As a result, close cooperation with the Czech Police has been established to jointly oversee the rally. The spokesperson also mentioned the likelihood of a spontaneous counter-rally in support of Israel’s actions taking place at the same location.
The organizers have clarified that the event’s goal is to honor the memory of all victims in Israel and Palestine, regardless of their background. They oppose the collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza as a solution to the ongoing cycle of violence, advocating instead for a mutual ceasefire, the immediate release of prisoners, and a pathway to a just settlement between the two peoples. Their press release specifically calls for an immediate halt to the bombing of Gaza and urges the Czech government not to support Israel’s retaliatory actions, which they believe will result in further loss of life and damage to the region.
The situation in the Gaza Strip has seen Israel responding with extensive airstrikes and shelling following attacks by Hamas militants, leading to a substantial loss of life. According to Reuters, the Israeli casualties have exhibited signs of extreme violence, including torture and rape. In contrast, Palestinian health ministry reports indicate over 2,300 casualties as a result of the Israeli attacks on Gaza.