Hundreds of demonstrators protested on Wenceslas Square in the Czech capital Prague against a US military convoy due to arrive in the country Sunday, March 29th. The convoy, dubbed ‘Dragoon Ride’ will see more than 500 troops and 120 military vehicles, travel through six countries en route to their home station in Vilseck, Germany as they wrap up months of training with allies in Poland and the Baltics. The convoy will spend four days in the Czech Republic before heading to their base in Germany.
Critics voice that the military convoy creates added tension in the region with Russia to the east and that no foreign army has entered into the country in this manner since the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. The route U.S. forces have chosen is the same as the Soviets took during their invasion back then and while some say it is of no significance, it has stirred up emotions of the past with some Czechs. Opponents also point out that the Czech Constitution forbids foreign forces to ‘transport’ through the country longer than 48 hours. The U.S. forces will be staying in the country four days, and as of yet there has been no discussion or approval from the Czech parliament for the extended stay.
above: Hundreds rally on Prague’s Wenceslas Square against the convoy, war and for peace.
Supporters say the action is a show of support and cooperation between the U.S. and the NATO-allied countries it passes through. Dragoon Ride forces will be stopping in major cities across the country, then converging in Prague before the final leg of the journey to their base in Germany. During their overnight stops, soldiers will be speaking with residents and giving tours of their Stryker armored vehicles, along with informational demonstrations of weapons onboard.
above: Police for a line of separation between demonstrators for and against the U.S. Convoy