Demonstrations against COVID restrictions in the Czech Republic

David Taneček

Demonstrations by opponents of anti-epidemic measures were held again in several cities on Saturday. They were without incident and were attended by hundreds of people.

After the government decided this week to abolish the forthcoming compulsory vaccination against COVID for people over 60 and some key professions, the primary demand of the protests was the abolition of the division of citizens based on vaccination. As in the past, a series of rallies was organized by the Chcípl PES initiative, and further demonstrations will take place on Sunday and next weekend.

The initiative sees the government’s decision to make vaccinations voluntary for all as a “first small victory” that it says would not have been achieved without active citizen resistance. “Another goal of Chcípl PES is to stop and abolish the segregation of citizens based on vaccination,” the organizers said on the website.

According to police estimates, around 600 people attended today’s demonstration at Klatovy’s Míru Square. After the speakers’ speeches in the square, the participants set off to march. The event ended less than two hours after it started. “Police supervised the course of the rally, where there was no disturbance of public order,” police spokeswoman Hana Kroftová said.

Police said an estimated 350 to 500 people attended the demonstration in Hradec Králové. Some participants took pots and ladles, trumpets, Czech flags, and banners reading “We have had enough of COVID totalitarianism” or “Stop the amendment to the pandemic law.” After the speakers, the parade made its way to the train station and back to 28 October Square, where the event began. “We are monitoring the entire event, it was without any disturbance of public order,” police spokeswoman Šárka Pižlová said.

In Mladá Boleslav, the demonstration took place on Old Town Square and was attended by roughly 200 people, according to police. After speeches by speakers and musical performances, participants marched through the town. They honked, whistled, drummed, and shouted, “Shame on the government!” or “We are not your slaves! We are free people!” Some people carried Czech flags or banners with slogans such as “We will not give our children to you” or “We will not surrender.” The parade then returned to Old Town Square. The police did not notice any problems here either.

In Most, police estimate that roughly 100 people took part in the demonstration at 1. náměstí and the subsequent parade. “Everything went off without any disturbance of order,” said regional police spokeswoman Šárka Poláčková.