PRAGUE | Czech police used tear gas and water cannons on Sunday in the face of a violent protest in Prague against government measures to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Several thousand demonstrators, including football supporters, gathered in Prague to demand the resignation of Minister of Health Roman Prymula, manager of the restrictive measures.
The demonstration took a violent turn when the police began to disperse the crowd, the number of participants being well above that allowed for the rallies.
“The participants attacked the police for no reason,” Prague police chief Tomas Lerch told reporters, while another police official blamed “radical supporters”.
“We used water cannons, tear gas and firecrackers,” said Lerch, adding that around 20 police officers were injured.
Emergency services said in a tweet that they treated nine people and admitted four injured to hospital.
Before the rally, police arrested fifty people and seized fireworks, telescopic batons, punches and guns.
The country recorded a record 11,105 new cases in one day on Friday. On Sunday, the toll stood at a total of 170,000 cases and more than 1,400 deaths.
The rally was organized by the HON association, but football supporters made up a significant portion of the crowd.
The Minister of Health “admits no opposition. How does he dare ? Who does he think he’s talking to? We are not sheep, we are normal people, ”Vlasta Ciencialova, a demonstrator who came to Prague from the east of the country, told AFP.
Mr. Prymula stigmatized the protesters for their “disdain for the work of caregivers”.
“As a result, I guess we’ll have hundreds of new infections,” he said indignantly.