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Czechs and Germans stage border picnic to highlight challenges of lockdown

Organizers say the current situation has separated neighbors on the border and are hopeful for a return to normalcy

Mytina, West Bohemia, May 30 (CTK) – Inhabitants of the area straddling the Czech-German border hosted a meeting on Saturday meant to attract attention to the challenges faced by those living in borderlands due to the barriers imposed by the coronavirus outbreak.

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A concert also took place at the meet-up, according to organizer Veronika Krizkova. The meeting was attended at first by 30 people, while others joined in later, she said.

From both sides of the border, people also brought some refreshment. “However, since we cannot hand it over, we put it on the border. Then the people from the other side came to take it,” Krizkova said.

The ban on free movement across the border has afflicted the lives of many, she added. “People used to do routine shopping, making visits and having their cars repaired on the other side of the border,” Krizkova said.

From the German side, only a police patrol came to see the demonstration, while several police cars came from the Czech side. There were almost as many police and soldiers as participants at the event, Krizkova said.

“However, they did not intervene in any way, only monitoring the meeting,” she said. Similar meetings were held in 18 different border crossings Saturday.

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Co-organizer Pablo Schindelmann said the participants wanted to symbolically heal the blow sustained by the European cohesion due to the recent events.

Participants believe that the current situation that has separated the neighbours on the border will soon end and that life will return to normal.

“Our meetings enable people to see each other without having to undergo expensive COVID-19 tests or starting a two-week quarantine,” one of the organisers, Jan Kvapil, who lectures German studies at the university in Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia, said.

pvr/dr

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