Czech police said they used tear gas and water cannons at a violent rally held Sunday in Prague against government measures introduced to stem the coronavirus spread.
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Thousands of protesters, including "radical" football fans according to police, gathered in the capital's historic Old Town Square to demand the resignation of Health Minister Roman Prymula, the mastermind behind the restrictions.
The rally turned fierce as protesters and police scuffled after authorities began dispersing the crowd, saying attendance far exceeded the current limit.
"Participants attacked the police without any reason," Prague police chief Tomas Lerch told reporters, while another officer described them as "radical fans".
"We used a water cannon, tear gas and petards," Lerch said, adding that nearly 20 officers were injured.
Prague's emergency service tweeted it had treated nine people and taken four to hospital "mainly with head injuries, cuts, inebriation and breathing problems following tear gas intoxication."
Police said they detained around 50 people before the rally and seized fireworks, brass knuckles, telescopic batons and firearms.
PHOTO Hundreds of demonstrators, mostly hooligans, clash with police during a protest against the Czech government's new measures in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, 18 October 2020. @epaphotos pic.twitter.com/EOToiPEUG5
— Martin Divisek (@martin_divisek) October 18, 2020
The Czech Republic is the worst-off in the EU's rankings of new coronavirus cases and deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
On Friday, the EU member of 10.7 million people set a new record in daily infections with 11,105 cases.
As of Sunday, it hasRead More – Source