PRAGUE (AP) — Thousands rallied in the Czech capital of Prague on Sunday to protest the government’s restrictive measures to tackle a record surge of coronavirus infections.
The protesters included members and supporters of a number of fringe political parties and groups that failed to win any parliamentary seats in October’s election. It was their third protest in the last two weeks. The participants didn’t wear face coverings or follow social distancing rules and drank beer despite a ban on drinking alcohol in public.
At Prague’s Letna Park, the protesters chanted “Freedom!” and “We’ve had enough!” while displaying banners that discouraged getting vaccinated such as ones reading “My body my choice."
Police didn’t intervene.
The country has been setting repeated records in new daily infections, hitting a record high of almost 28,000 cases on Thursday. The infection rate was at 1,191 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days. Overall, the nation of 10.7 million has registered over 2.1 million cases with 32,837 COVID-related deaths. It has lower vaccination rates than many other EU nations.
The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency and imposed additional coronavirus restrictions Friday in its effort to tackle the surge. Among them, all Christmas markets across the country were banned and bars, restaurants, nightclubs, discotheques and casinos have to close at 10 p.m.
The number of people at cultural and sports events in the Czech Republic is now limited to 1,000 who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 while all other public gatherings can be attended by only up to 100 visitors, down from 1,000.