Over 17000 Protesters Defy Social Distancing in Berlin

Berlin protests Social distancing

Nearly 17,000 defied social distancing as they marched from the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday 

17000 protesters
Police estimated around 17,000 people took part in the protest with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer saying the scene was ‘unacceptable’

The German government condemned what it said were ‘unacceptable’ violations of coronavirus restrictions today after protestors took to the streets of Berlin over the weekend.

Tens of thousands of people – many with no masks – took to the streets to protest Germany‘s coronavirus restrictions on Saturday in a demonstration that insisted ‘the end of the pandemic’ has arrived.  

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said: ‘The images we saw this weekend were unacceptable.’

We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!

A woman carries a sign reading End of the Corona dictaturship
A woman carries a sign reading ‘End of the Corona dictaturship’ as she attends the demonstration

They chanted, ‘We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!’

Police used bullhorns to chide participants to adhere to social distancing rules and to wear masks, apparently with little success. 

They tweeted that they were preparing a criminal complaint against the rally’s organizers for failing to enforce hygiene rules.

Police estimated that about 17,000 people turned up to the march, and demonstrators were kept apart from counter protesters, some chanting ‘Nazis out!’

Social distancing fight
A demonstrator stands next to a sign reading ‘We need a Corona investigation committee’
Counter Protest Social distancing
A counter-protester holds a sign reading ‘we are many. Berlin against Nazis’

Protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have long drawn a variety of attendees, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.

Unlike the U.S., Brazil and Britain, Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic. 

The country’s death toll – just over 9,150 people out of more than 210,670 confirmed virus cases as of August 1 – is five times less than Britain’s, which has a smaller population.

In the 24 hours to July 31 there were 870 new infections.  

The German government has been easing lockdown measures since late April but social distancing rules remain in place, as does a requirement to wear masks on public transit and in shops.

But officials have been warning against complacency as the number of new Covid-19 cases crept up recently. 

They pleaded with Germans this week to observe the distancing and mask rules and, amid concern about residents bringing home infections from summer trips abroad, introduced free tests for people entering the country. 

A senior ally of Angela Merkel said earlier this week that a second wave of coronavirus has already hit Germany and that they are seeing new clusters of infections every day.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in COVID-19, Protests, Top Stories

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