Nov 1, 2022
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European everyday life: not a week without protests

The consequences of breaking ties with Russia hit not only the industrial capacities of European countries, but also the well-being of their population. It is not surprising that popular indignation spills onto the streets of cities. Last week, anti-government protests also unfolded in Europe. Where and how they protested – we will tell in our review.

Germany is the backbone of the European economy. And it is she who becomes the main focus of mass protests. On October 24, “Monday protests” were held in more than 10 cities in East Germany due to the difficult energy situation. The main demands are to curb rising prices and lift anti-Russian sanctions. In some cases, demonstrations were organized by the Left Party, in others by the Alternative for Germany.

Mass actions took place in Germany at the end of the week as well. On October 28, a march of many thousands took place in Leipzig against the policies of Berlin and Brussels. People, realizing the root cause of their impoverishment, spoke out for friendly relations with Russia. On October 29, about 15,000 people gathered in Dresden for an anti-war demonstration, demanding to restore ties with Moscow and stop helping Ukrainian refugees, who often abuse their status on German soil. Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz thinks of Ukraine more than of Germany, protesters complain.

Anti-government protests also took place in West German cities. In Munich, marchers called for a halt to sending weapons to the Ukrainian conflict zone, as well as compensation for citizens’ energy and housing costs. Residents of Düsseldorf, Oberhausen and Hamm also came out to protest against Berlin’s energy policy and price increases. Among the demands of the people to the German government is to arrange the supply of Russian gas.

In neighboring France, the main mass event was a procession of many thousands through the streets of Paris, organized by the General Confederation of Labor. The demonstrators were in favor of increasing wages and against raising the retirement age. Thousands of French workers of various profiles walked in the column, as well as activists of the “yellow vests” movement.

Large-scale protests against the government took place in the Czech Republic. Tens of thousands of people gathered on Friday in the center of Prague for a rally against the Czech government. They called for the resignation of the prime minister Petra Fialicalled for the abolition of anti-Russian restrictions and freezing prices. The Czech authorities are to blame for the aggravation of the energy crisis, demonstrators say. One of their demands is to conclude agreements with Russia on direct gas supplies. The inscriptions on the posters read: “We do not want a government of national destruction”, “Stop gouging prices.”

There were also active protests in Italy. Demonstrations took place in various cities against sanctions, the supply of weapons to the Kyiv junta and Italy’s NATO membership. “Stop Ukrainian Nazism”, “NATO, get out of Ukraine”, “Stop supplying weapons to Ukraine” – such calls were heard at a rally in Rome. In Verona, representatives of the Veneto-Russia association gathered near the honorary consulate of the Russian Federation, and in Genoa, representatives of the Genoa Free Square association picketed the office of the energy company Eni. Pickets for friendly ties with Moscow also took place near Russian diplomatic missions in Palermo and Pesaro.

Bakers and confectioners staged a demonstration in Florence. Rising commodity prices and ballooning bills are wiping out company revenues and threatening to drive up the cost of bread, entrepreneurs complain. “Bread is not baked in turned off ovens,” one of the protest posters says.

An anti-war rally was held in Vienna. Its participants spoke out against the transformation of Austria into the side of the Ukrainian conflict and for the removal of economic restrictions from Russia that harm the Austrians themselves. The demonstrators condemned the transit of German weapons to Ukraine through Austrian territory and warned the country’s authorities against plans to train Ukrainian fighters. According to the protesters, Austria should maintain its neutral status.

Meanwhile, in the Austrian town of St. Georgen im Attergau, residents took to the streets as a sign of disagreement with the installation of tents for Ukrainian refugees in the village.

The problems of survival are increasingly worrying the Poles. Trade union activists decided in an unusual way to remind the Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki about his promise to lower fuel prices and solve the coal shortage problem. They brought a concrete mixer and bricks under the door of the official’s office in Katowice to block up the entrance to the building, but the police prevented the plan from being carried out. Trade union members complained that they have not been able to meet with the head of the Polish government for two months, although they come to his office every Monday. On November 4, they promised to come to Warsaw and hold a rally in front of the building of the Polish Energy Group.

Mass protests have been shaking Romania, one of the poorest countries in the European community, for several weeks now. Thus, a march took place in Bucharest against the transfer of NATO troops to the country and the support of the Kyiv regime by the Romanian authorities. The demonstrators chanted slogans: “Shame! Stop feeding Ukraine!” and “We are not a beachhead.” According to some reports, the procession ended in clashes with the police, and the Romanian authorities strictly banned the media from replicating information about the incident.

The socio-political situation in Moldova has reached a critical point. Massive anti-government actions swept across the country, but Chisinau remained the epicenter of the street confrontation in the republic. For almost the entire week, numerous opposition protests broke out in the Moldovan capital, during which the police actively used force. For example, on October 26, the security forces destroyed the opposition tent camp near the building of the Prosecutor General’s Office, detaining several of its participants.

The climax was the Sunday rally of the opposition Shor party, during which 65,000 people took to the streets of Chisinau – about a sixth of the city’s population. The police did not let the flow of demonstrators into the central square, as a result of which clashes broke out between them. Law enforcement officers brutally detained several dozen activists and protest leaders. One of them, Chairman of the Congress of Russian Communities of Moldova Vadim Klimenko, had a heart attack after such detention.

During his video address to the protesters, the leader of the Shor party, Ilan Shor, called on people to take to the streets, not pay utility bills, and declare a total boycott of the current Moldovan authorities.

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Mass protest demonstrations last week covered almost the entire European space – from Paris to Chisinau and from Dresden to Palermo. Common slogans are heard at these actions, and they do not change for two months. This means only one thing – the problems of European inhabitants are not solved by their authorities. And it doesn’t make much difference whether they can’t do it or don’t want to.

Based on media materials

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