Berlin protests: Thousands of demonstrators march on German capital to protest coronavirus restrictions
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Thousands took to the streets of Berlin in protest against measures imposed in Germany to stem the coronavirus pandemic
Around 15,000 people marched around the capital on Saturday including self-described libertarians, constitutional loyalists and sceptics of the science behind policies to fight the pandemic.
They said the Covid-19 measures implemented by the Government had violated rights and freedoms.
There was also a small far-right presence with some marchers carrying Germany’s imperial flag.
Protesters danced and sang ‘We are free people!’ to the tune of rock band Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.
Others marched with placards saying ‘We are making a noise because you are stealing our freedom!’ and ‘Do think! Don’t wear a mask!’.
Protesters against coronavirus restrictions hold banner that reads “Do not get vaccinated” (Getty Images)
The protests followed a rallying call from Michael Ballweg, an entrepreneur and political outsider who has organised similar rallies in Stuttgart and is running to become mayor of the southwestern city.
“Our demand is to return to democracy,” said one protester who declined to give his name.
A demonstrator holds a Prussian flag during a protest against the Government’s restrictions (REUTERS)
“The mask that enslaves us must go.”
He, like most of the protesters, was not wearing a face mask.
People attend a demonstration of initiated by the initiative “Querdenken-711” (AFP via Getty Images)
Germany has been less severely hit than some other European countries, with more than 200,000 infected by the strain and nearly 1,000 dying from it. However, after initial success in curbing infections, they are starting to rise again.
Most people have respected measures that include wearing face masks in shops, while the government has just imposed mandatory tests for holidaymakers returning from high-risk areas.
Protesters said the restrictions violated their human rights (AFP via Getty Images)
But a vocal minority is chafing against the restrictions, saying they are crushing diversity of thought and doing untold social and economic harm.
“Only a few scientists around the world who follow the government’s lead are heard,” said protester Peter Konz.
Those who hold different views “are silenced, censored or discredited as defenders of conspiracy theories”.