Beer mugs in Prague to protest restrictions

For a kilometer, mugs of beer placed on the ground with lit candles inside: this is how restaurateurs and pub owners in Prague chose on Sunday to protest against the anti-Covid restrictions decided by the government.

On a cold and misty afternoon, the long garland stretched across the sidewalk between the historic center of the Czech capital and the seat of government.

“We are here because we are really desperate and at their wit’s end, physically and mentally,” Jiri Janecek, organizer of the demonstration, told AFP.

The boss of the small brewery Maly Janek, south of Prague, criticizes the decision taken by the government three times since March to close restaurants.

“The government has triggered a much more deadly pandemic, that of poverty, unemployment and business collapse,” he insists, while deploring the low level of government compensation.

Faced with a new peak in contamination, the Czech government closed restaurants, pubs and bars shortly before Christmas, only allowed to sell take-out food.

Restaurants in the country, known for the highest per capita beer consumption in the world, had been closed during the first wave of the epidemic in the spring and then throughout much of the fall.

A member of the EU, with a population of 10.7 million, the Czech Republic has recorded more than 740,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including nearly 12,000 deaths, since March.

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