Czech riot police deployed tear fuel, flashbang grenades, and a water cannon to disperse a crowd of protesters who refused to go away Prague’s Previous City Sq. after a rally towards authorities measures to battle the coronavirus.

The defiant demonstrators, who had been recognized by the native media as radical followers of varied sport groups, clashed with the police, pelting the officers with stones and firecrackers. A number of dozen folks had been reported injured within the skirmish, together with members of the police power.

The rally was gathered to object to the federal government’s response to the Covid-19 epidemic. A kind of guidelines triggered the violent confrontation. Gatherings of greater than 500 persons are presently banned within the Czech Republic, and even smaller ones require folks to put on face masks and unfold in teams of as much as 20 folks separated by at the very least two meters.

The municipal authorities estimated that round 2,000 folks flocked to the sq., and ordered the rally to disperse. Whereas a lot of the demonstrators complied, some refused and as an alternative confronted the police. Dozens of arrests had been made in reference to the riot.

Inside Minister Jan Hamacek praised the police response and accused “a number of hundred hooligans” of instigating the violence. Prime Minister Andrej Babis advised Czech media he was “shocked” by the rioters’ actions and accused them of endangering themselves and others. “I’m in favor of harsh punishment of their case,” he stated.

The police stated the skirmish was prearranged by a gaggle of organized troublemakers. They stated they intercepted among the folks, who had been going to the sq. with an intention to battle, and seized weapons, pyrotechnics, and different harmful objects.

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