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US Army's 'Dragoon Ride' Sparks Anti-American Protest in Czech Republic

Not all goes according to plan in NATO operation intended to show the appreciation of Eastern Europeans for US Army presence 


US Army's 'Dragoon Ride' met with an unforeseen hiccup this Saturday. The army's road trip across Eastern Europe was designed to showcase the popularity of the United States in "New Europe." Instead it ended up showcasing that, even in this part of Europe, support for Washington is anything but universal.

Sure enough, the American military column was greeted by pro-American demonstrations - these were foreseen and supported by the government.

What was not anticipated by NATO planners or the Czech government was the outbreak of an equally big anti-American counter-demonstration.

Thus instead of the picture of a grateful Czech Republic welcoming US forces, the picture was rather of a nation deeply divided on the issue.

From Stars and Stripes:

PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Anti- and pro-American protesters squared off in Wenceslas Square on Saturday, a day before a large convoy of American troops was scheduled to pass through the Czech Republic on its way to Germany. 

The crossing will mark the tail end of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment Dragoon Ride, an 11-day trek of roughly 120 vehicles across eastern Europe aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine.

The stated aim of the exercise rankled members of the Czech Republic’s Communist Party and sparked a series of protests across the country. The largest took place in Prague, the capital, where some 1,000 anti-American demonstrators gathered .

“This definitely won’t contribute to peace in Europe because the situation is very, very dangerous and very tense. We’re of the opinion that steps like this definitely don’t help,” said Lubomir Ledl, a protest organizer and lawyer from Prague. 

Of course, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for anti-NATO protesters: They're Russian agents:

Jiri Pehe, a political scientist and director of New York University’s Prague branch, described the protests as political theater organized by the Czech Communist Party. He believes that many of the protestors may be Russian agents or people who are secretly getting money from Russia.

“If you take into account that the Communist Party has about between 10-15 percent in public support, you can see where these protests are coming from,” he said. “So, it’s a very vocal minority.”

Russian agents

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