Tuesday, August 3, 2021

German gov't cracks down on Covid protests

COVID: Berlin court bans anti-lockdown protests | Deutsche Welle:

July 31, 2021 - "Judges in the German capital have moved to ban a number of weekend demonstrations amid fears they will lead to a rise in coronavirus infections. Police expect protesters to travel to Berlin nonetheless.

"Berlin authorities have banned more than tens of thousands of anti-lockdown protesters demonstrating this weekend. Judges at the German capital's administrative court refused to authorize 13 demonstrations, some of which had been organized by the Querdenker (Lateral thinker) anti-lockdown movement. The ban was upheld by the Berlin-Brandeburg upper administrative court. Organizers said 22,500 people had registered to take part in one of the rallies.... A separate march planned for Sunday has also been forbidden. The 'For Peace, Freedom, Truth' rally had been expected to draw 3,500 people....

"The bans affect all protests 'whose participants regularly do not follow legal regulations, specifically to protect against infections,' said police spokesman Thilo Cablitz."

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/covid-berlin-court-bans-anti-lockdown-protests/a-58712622

Hundreds arrested in Berlin protests against Covid restrictions | The Guardian - Kate Connolly:

August 2, 2021 - "More than 600 people have been arrested after participating in protests against the German government’s coronavirus measures, officials have said. About 13 separate demonstrations took place around Berlin on Sunday, despite being banned by a court order and participants saying they would not follow safety rules.

"Most of the approximately 5,000 protesters – a fraction of the 22,500 expected before the ban was announced – failed to stick to social distancing rules or to wear medical masks, according to police. After participants did not heed orders to abide by hygiene rules, police used pepper spray and truncheons to break up the crowds. Water cannon and a tank similar to an armoured recovery vehicle were on hand but not needed, according to police. 

"Police confirmed that a 49-year-old man, who had travelled from the Rhineland region with his son to participate, collapsed and later died after breaking through a barrier [and beind detained - gd].... Several police officers were also injured on Sunday....

"Organisers have complained that they are being treated differently from other political demonstrations, such as the Christopher Street Day parade that took place in Berlin last month, attracting 65,000 participants. Mask-wearing and physical distancing rules were often ignored at that event."

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/02/hundreds-arrested-berlin-protests-against-covid-restrictions-germany

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