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60 Arrested in Prague During Protest Against Anti-Epidemic Measures

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Prague yesterday to protest against the current anti-epidemic measures. Prague Police were prepared for the demonstrations, and repeatedly blocked the course of the march. Around 60 protestors were detained, including MP Lubomír Volný. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.

Czech Rep, March 8 (BD) – Yesterday, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Prague to protest against the government’s anti-epidemic measures. They met in Wenceslas Square, marching through the Old Town Square to Petrin Hill, before returning to the Old Town Square. Prague Police detained about 60 protesters, including MP Lubomír Volný (Jednotní) who participated in organizing the event. According to the Minister of Interior Jan Hamáček (ČSSD), Volný refused to put on a mask after being asked repeatedly. Volný later confirmed his release on Facebook, saying: “I’m fine, I’m free.” The march was blocked by police several times as they moved around Prague. Most of the arrests were due to not wearing a respirator. 

The police took strict measures even before the protests began, closing Wenceslas Square and letting only 100 demonstrators into the area, the maximum number allowed at demonstrations. The demonstration at the Old Town Square was also quickly broken up by police as the number of participants exceeded 100 people. The police response was publicly commended by Hamáček and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO). Hamáček wrote on Twitter: “I thank the vast majority of Czech citizens for complying with government measures. I know that this is a major interference in everyday life, and I appreciate all those who respect the regulations all the more. Thank you Czech Police for today’s professional intervention against those irresponsible, threatening the health of us all.” Police recorded similar, smaller attempts to gather in Karviná, South Moravia, and Pilsen, mainly of people trying to travel to the demonstration in Prague.

South Moravian police officers stopped a private hire bus in the Brno-venkov district. In the end, the bus was not allowed to cross the district limits. “None of the passengers met the condition to cross the borders of the district. The police explained it to them, and they turned around and drove back,” said police spokesman David Chaloupka, as reported by Seznam Zpravy.

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