Slovak police use teargas at protest over COVID-19 restrictions

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Riot police fired teargas at hundreds of demonstrators who blocked the entrance to Slovakia's parliament and pelted the building with eggs on Friday as deputies debated legislation the protesters oppose on COVID-19 restrictions.

Some protesters chanted "Treason" and one carried a banner declaring "Stop corona fascism" over a draft law that would give people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 easier access to public events and spaces than those who have not.

Some protesters wrapped themselves in the national flag or waved it outside the hill-top parliament from Friday morning in the capital Bratislava.

One policewoman was slightly hurt, Slovak media quoted parliamentary speaker Boris Kollar as saying. The protest continued peacefully and eventually dwindled after the police intervention.

The European Union member state of 5.5 million has been struggling to get people vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of Thursday, just 34.9% of the population was fully vaccinated, data from Johns Hopkins University showed. That is one of the lowest vaccination rates per capita in the EU.

Some opposition parties have spoken out against vaccination, including former Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has said he will not get vaccinated.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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