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Protests rage on in Germany, Czech Republic over COVID-19 restrictions

Demonstrators kneel down after police officers ended a protest against government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Frankfurt, Germany, on December 4, 2021. (Photo by Reuters)

Thousands of people in European countries have rallied against their governments over COVID-19 restrictions amid surge in fresh infections across the worst-hit continent.

Almost 4,000 unmasked people joined demonstrations in Germany’s Nuremberg city on Sunday, four days after German lawmakers deliberated on whether to impose compulsory COVID-19 shots.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz supports compulsory vaccination for people above the age of 18 but his coalition government is divided on the issue. He has asked lawmakers to vote according to their conscience.

Protesters in Nuremberg held placards, one of which said Health Minister Karl Lauterbach “is worse than Corona” while another said “I'm not a guinea pig for the pharmaceuticals industry.”

The exclusion of unvaccinated people from many indoor activities, along with the possibility of mandatory vaccines has exacerbated the public discontent in the country.

Thousands of people poured into the streets of capital Prague Czech Republic to protest government’s new COVID-19 rules, as new infections continue to soar across the country.

Czech protesters, estimated to be more than 3000, carried national flags and chanted anti-government slogans. They mainly objected to harsher restrictions for the unvaccinated, including a ban on eating in restaurants.

A protester, Stanislav Prosl, who was at the scene of demonstrations, was quoted as saying that the government's pandemic measures were “worse than during Communism.”

 The development comes in the wake of new record of daily COVID-19 cases driven by the more contagious Omicron variant. More than 50,000 cases were registered last Wednesday.

Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required for access to public venues such as restaurants and clubs in the country.

Following the outbreak of the new strain, COVID-19 cases have been soaring in the European continent, with some countries prescribing strict restrictions in a bid to contain its spread.

Germany has one of the largest case tallies in the world, with more than 9.7 million infections.

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