News ID: 272319
Published: 0212 GMT August 01, 2020

Thousands march in Berlin to protest coronavirus curbs

Thousands march in Berlin to protest coronavirus curbs
FABRIZIO BENSCH/REUTERS

Demonstrators hold flags during a protest against the government's restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Berlin, Germany, on August 1, 2020.

Thousands of demonstrators rallied in Berlin on Saturday to protest against measures imposed in Germany to stem the coronavirus pandemic, saying they violated people’s rights and freedoms.

The loose gathering, estimated by police at 15,000, included libertarians, constitutional loyalists and skeptics of the science behind policies to fight the pandemic. There was also a small far-right presence with some marchers carrying Germanys imperial flag, Reuters reported.

Protesters sang We are free people!. Others marched with placards saying We are making a noise because you are stealing our freedom!and Do think! Dont wear a mask!.

The protests followed a rallying call from Michael Ballweg, an entrepreneur and political outsider who has organized 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. The mask that enslaves us must go.”

He, like most of the protesters, was not wearing a face mask.

Germany has been less severely hit than some other European countries, with more than 200,000 infected by COVID-19 and nearly 1,000 dying from it. After initial success in curbing infections, they are starting to rise again.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 955 to 209,653, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.

The reported death toll rose by 7 to 9148, the tally showed.

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.

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 governments lead are heard,” said protester Peter Konz. Those who hold different views are silenced, censored or discredited as defenders of conspiracy theories”.

 

   
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