Czechs mark end of lockdown with bridge dinner

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Prague residents celebrated the end of lockdown with a dinner on the city's historic Charles Bridge

Prague residents celebrated the end of lockdown with a dinner on the city's historic Charles Bridge (AFP Photo/Michal Cizek)

Prague (AFP) - Crowds gathered on Prague's Charles Bridge on Tuesday to celebrate the end of the Czech Republic's coronavirus crisis with a group dinner along a gigantic table set up on the historic landmark.

The EU member of 10.7 million people has by now eased most of the anti-virus measures it introduced early on -- thanks to which it has fared relatively well, registering fewer than 12,000 coronavirus cases and under 350 deaths.

On the 14th-century bridge, merrymakers munched on snacks and sipped drinks they brought from home, sharing their fare with others at the table spanning 500 metres (a third of a mile).

"Everyone had to do something to be here, bring food or a flower. The idea was for everyone to get involved," Prague cafe owner and event organiser Ondrej Kobza told AFP.

"We want to celebrate the end of the coronavirus crisis with people meeting up and showing they're no longer afraid to meet others. That they aren't afraid to accept a bite of a sandwich from someone."

"Society mustn't be afraid. Otherwise, we'll have an economic crisis, a depression and that will hit society harder than COVID-19," said Kobza.

The 41-year-old is known for having placed pianos in the streets of Prague, set up chess tables in a local square and made the roof of a palace accessible to the public.

Several improvised bands played and sang along the curvy table adorned with oxeye daisies and new friendships were sealed over a snack or a glass.

"I found the event on Facebook and thought it was interesting," said Galina Khomchenko-Krejcikova, a Russian Prague resident who came with a friend.

"I just finished a night shift so I didn't have time to prepare anything. But we brought some wine and snacks we found at home," she told AFP.