Those who oppose anti-pandemic measures imposed by the Czech government gathered in the hundreds on Sunday to demonstrate against what they call “the deployment of totalitarianism.”
Starting at Wenceslas Square and Palackého Náměstí, protesters then migrated to Můstek where they consolidated before marching through Old Town Square and across the Mánes Bridge to Klárov.
The crowds grew to sizes not recommended by the Ministry of Health as bystanders were encouraged to join with a “come with us” chant. Czech flags, Slovak flags, and banners with defiant phrases on them decorated the march. Skeptical of having a vaccine forced on him, one man held a banner that said “Pokud my, tak vy první!” (If we have to, then you first!)
Many also called for compensation for small businesses destroyed by the COVID-19 restrictions, and advocated for a complete abolition of all the restrictions nationwide.
David Tesař, the rebel cafe owner who refused to close his business or follow any of the restrictions this entire time, was among the organizers for the demonstration.
On the Facebook event page, Tesař wrote “The deployment of totalitarianism goes on and we just embrace it. Let’s live our lives without the government and its restrictions. Let’s live and breathe freely like we were last Christmas.”
As COVID-19 cases struggle to stay below 5,000 per day in the Czech Republic, the country is currently in between the third and 4th stages of the government’s “PES” (DOG) system.
Jan Blatný, Minister of Health, has stated that if the cases get worse, there’s a chance that all the businesses that just opened will have to close again.