Protests in Prague signal a turbulent winter in Europe

“They may think they have no other place to express their discontent,” he said.

The far right is having a resurgence across Europe. This week, the Brothers of Italy party won the most votes in the Italian elections. And in Sweden, a group founded by neo-Nazis and skinheads seems destined to become the biggest party in the next government.

In Germany, the far-right Alternative for Germany, known by its German acronym AfD, has risen to around 15 percent in public polls and is planning protests in Berlin next month.

“People aren’t even using the heat yet, that’s yet to come,” said Mr Quent. “And yet the AfD already had a visible uptick. This is, indeed, the scenario I have feared.”

At the Prague protest, many who joined bristled at the idea of ​​being called fringe or far-right.

“It’s not just rising energy prices, but also grocery prices. I am raising my granddaughter and I am worried,” said Miroslav Kusmirek, who came from a village 30 miles from the capital to protest on a rainy afternoon. “I see companies now struggling and I worry; if the company that employs me collapses, so do I”.

As he spoke, a speaker on stage from AfD Germany, Christine Anderson, shouted to cheers: “You don’t live in a democracy anymore!”

For energy experts, the populist wave adds yet another knot to the tangle of problems facing Europe. In addition to cutting gas from Russia, France’s nuclear plants have been at half capacity due to maintenance problems, and a severe drought has hampered Germany’s ability to import coal during the summer.