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A Czech anti-Islamic group has been condemned for simulating an "Islamic State" terror attack in Prague. Tourists fled the popular Old Town Square in panic as shots were fired. DW's Inside Europe radio show reports.
Dressed as jihadists, the group wore fake beards, carried Kalashnikovs and drove a military truck into the tourist-friendly neighborhood of Prague on Sunday shouting "Allahu Akbar."
The activists fired imitation firearms and paraded a fake prisoner in orange robes, apparently threatening to behead her.
Many tourists and some residents from the city's Jewish quarter fled in panic, not knowing it was a staged attack. The tourists hid in nearby restaurants, according to images shared on social media.
The presence of a camel and a goat was perhaps the only sign that the disturbance was not a real attack.
Arranged by a group called "We don't want Islam in the Czech Republic," the protest was approved by city officials and police, local media reported.
Police stopped the stunt after about 20 minutes.
Organizer Martin Konvicka said the "attack" was a publicity stunt to draw attention to the threat posed by Muslim migrants to the Czech way of life.
Serious questions asked
DW Correspondent in Prague Rob Cameron said enraged Czechs and some tourists exchanged insults with the activists.
"What at first appeared as a farcical piece of street theater was later condemned for a serious lack of judgment," Cameron said in a report for DW's weekly "Inside Europe" radio show.
"A nearby restaurant released a video, showing dozens of people rushing into the restaurant in fright, knocking over chairs and breaking glasses. Several were injured," Cameron added.
Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec called the stunt "idiocy," while several politicians have criticized City Hall officials for authorizing the theatrical protest in the first place.
Konvicka, who told reporters he had hoped to "shock" people with the stunt, said the panic had been exaggerated by the media.
In a video following the incident, he blamed an overreaction by "hysterical do-gooders and Arab tourists" who he claimed interrupted the performance, preventing it from ending "without incident."