Thousands protest against COVID-19 restrictions in Czech capital

PRAGUE – Thousands of people rallied in the Czech capital Prague on Sunday to protest against the government’s restrictive measures to tackle a record spike in coronavirus cases.

The protesters included members and supporters of several political parties and groups that failed to win any parliamentary seats in the October elections. It was their third rally in past two weeks. Participants did not wear face coverings or follow social distancing and beer drinking rules despite the ban on drinking in public.

In Prague’s Letna Park, protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “We’ve had enough!” while displaying banners that discourage vaccination, such as those that say “My body of choice.”

The police did not intervene.

The country has set multiple records for daily new infections, hitting a record high of nearly 28,000 on Thursday. The infection rate was 1,191 new cases per 100,000 residents in the past seven days. Overall, the nation of 10.7 million people has recorded more than 2.1 million cases with 32,837 COVID-related deaths. It has lower vaccination rates than many other EU countries.

The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency and imposed additional restrictions on the coronavirus on Friday in an attempt to tackle this increase. Among them, all Christmas markets around the country have been banned and bars, restaurants, nightclubs, discos and casinos must close at 10pm.

The number of people at cultural and sporting events in the Czech Republic is currently limited to 1,000 people vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 while all other public gatherings can only have a maximum 100 visitors, down from 1,000.


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