Czech protesters demand ‘freedom’ as new COVID restrictions come into force for unvaccinated people

Protesters marched through the Czech capital Prague on Monday to reject the government’s restrictions on unvaccinated people as new infections rose sharply in the EU nation.

Protesters, numbering in the hundreds, demanded “Freedom!” for the unvaccinated and rejected the government’s push for people to get their vaccine shots.

Protesters gather to protest the government's restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Protesters gather to protest the government’s restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
(AP Photo / Petr David Josek)

EUROPE’S COVID CRISIS VACCINATED AGAINST UNVACCINATED

They carried posters with pictures of politicians – including Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Health Minister Adam Vojtech and leading epidemiologists – calling them traitors. Unlike recent demonstrations in the Netherlands and Brussels, this protest was peaceful. The audience was significantly smaller than a similar demonstration last week.

Protesters gather to protest the government's restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Protesters gather to protest the government’s restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
(AP Photo / Petr David Josek)

New restrictions to tackle the Czech Republic’s rise in infection came into force on Monday, targeting the unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people are no longer allowed to show negative coronavirus tests to attend public events, go to bars and restaurants, visit hairdressers and museums, or use hotels. People who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 can visit all of these sites.

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The measures were approved in an attempt to increase the country’s vaccination rate by 58.1%, which is below the EU average of 65.5%.

Protesters gather to protest the government's restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.

Protesters gather to protest the government’s restrictive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Prague, Czech Republic, on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
(AP Photo / Petr David Josek)

Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have been on a steep rise, breaking new records twice last week. The infection rate exceeded 1,000 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days for the first time and reached 1,002, the health ministry said Monday.

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Overall, the nation of 10.7 million has registered over 2 million cases with 32,173 deaths.

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