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Babiš calls unvaccinated 'selfish' amid protests over new restrictions

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By Josephine Joly  & Jiri Skacel  with AP
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Demonstrators gather to protest against the COVID-19 restriction measures during celebrations of the 32nd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Prague, on Nov. 17, 2021.
Demonstrators gather to protest against the COVID-19 restriction measures during celebrations of the 32nd anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Prague, on Nov. 17, 2021.   -   Copyright  Petr David Josek / AP

Thousands of protesters marched through Prague to protest against new COVID restrictions.

Demonstrators in the Czech capital flouted social distancing and facemasks as they rallied against the government's incoming curbs.

It came as the country marked the anniversary of the 1989 anti-Communist Velvet Revolution.

From November 22, people who are unvaccinated will not be able to attend any cultural or sporting events or visit restaurants, bars, cinemas, and theatres.

The move comes as the country registered a record number of new COVID-19 cases in one day, with 22,479 new infections recorded Wednesday.

For the Czech Republic's outgoing prime minister, Andrej Babiš, the current restrictions "are not strong enough".

Babiš called on people to get vaccinated, calling those who didn't "selfish".

"These people who don't get vaccinated and end up in the hospitals are endangering health care for other citizens," he said.

The Slovakian government is also considering imposing similar measures for at least three weeks after recording 8,342 daily cases.

In 1989, Czechs and Slovaks fought for their democratic freedom during the Velvet Revolution.

Thirty-two years on, anti-vaxxers are now preoccupied with another question on liberty.

“Not even communists dared to do what is happening here today. People really don’t have any freedom anymore. Restricted travelling from one region to the other last year, prohibiting children to do sports and visiting schools – this is not freedom. A totalitarian system starts here again,” claimed protester Marketa Irankova.

“It's not right when people who refuse the vaccination are marked as enemies of the nation,” Olga Padelkova told Euronews.

Watch the full report in the video player, above.