Despite the huge number of coronavirus cases, a large crowd of nearly 17,000 people took to the streets of Berlin to protest against the social distancing measures and other restrictions imposed in Germany to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Reportedly, thousands of demonstrators, mostly unmasked, gathered at Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on August 1 and rallied against social distancing rules, stating that they violated people’s rights. The demonstration what organisers termed “the end of the pandemic,” comes on the heels of an upturn in the coronavirus cases.
Raising banners like, ‘I want my life back’, ‘Day of Freedom -- The End of the Pandemic’, ‘Do think! Don’t wear a mask,’ activists staged protest against the measures imposed by the government. The local police reported a gathering of nearly 17,000 people which included anti-vaccination activists, libertarians, and constitutional loyalists. Reportedly, the protest also saw a few far-right and neo-Nazi groups with some demonstrators carrying Germany’s black, white and red imperial flag.
Expressing their unhappiness, some marchers sang and danced to Queen’s popular track “We Will Rock You” by changing the lyrics to ‘We are free people.’ Police then broke up the protest, stating the organisers were unable to ensure that health guidelines were being followed. Police also filed a criminal complaint against the one of the organisers of the march for not following the health regulations.
"Our colleagues are using loud speakers to urge the adherence to the rules. We are also documenting non-compliance for possible later prosecution," Berlin police tweeted. Many politicians called out the protesters, with Social Democrat co-leader Saskia Esken, condemning the protest for putting everyone's lives at risk and called the marchers “covidiots”. Health Minister Jens Spahn also criticised the protestors, and tweeted, “Yes, demonstrations should be allowed even amid the pandemic. But not like this.”
(Image credit: AP/Representative image)