Yesterday, a demonstration held in Prague against the steps taken by the government to face the Covid epidemic, turned into a tough fight between protesters and police.

The protest was planned to start at 2:00 P.M. and according to the current containment measures required: no more than 500 people divided into groups of 20, all expected to wear masks; but participants came out to be much more, so the recommendations were not respected. At 3:00 p.m. at the request of the police, the organizers stopped the demonstration, but football and hockey ultra groups started attacking the policemen using firecrackers, stones, batons and cans. Police reacted by firing tear gas and throwing water jets, and for about an hour the Old City square turned out to be a battlefield. There were many injured people among the demonstrators and policemen, 3 of them in severe conditions. Organizers accuse the Home Secretary of sending inciters into the crowd. On the other hand, the Police states they did everything possible to prevent riots.

The event, arranged by the civic organization HON, was entitled “We want to find the truth together”, referring to the truth about the pandemic.

This much is happening during a very hard time in the Czech Republic. The number of infections is increasing exponentially and the health-care system is close to collapse. On Wednesday the 14th, the government took some measures to reverse the trend, which are roughly the same measures taken in the rest of Europe. Today, given the seriousness of the situation, the government is asking for support from all European states. In this context, the organizers aimed to set up a peaceful demonstration. But other ultras groups joined in to complain about the measures intended to forbid the attendance of sport events. It seems that these groups had come to Prague from other Czech cities to deliberately start riots.
Unfortunately, in Italy too, we have gotten accustomed to seeing hundreds of ultras attacking the police and shouting fascist slogans during sports events. However, what happened in Prague has had a major impact on the media, due to the overall climate which is already tense, uncertain, and fraught with confusion and fear.

Translation by Roberta Mereu, from the voluntary Pressenza translation team. We are looking for volunteers!