Several thousand demonstrators demanded Saturday in Berlin for the abolition of restrictive measures to fight Covid-19. They were dispersed by the police for lack of masks.
Estimated at some 20,000 by the police, the demonstrators were ultimately much less numerous than the 500,000 announced by the organizers of this mobilization entitled “the end of the pandemic – Freedom Day”.
Among the participants in this motley procession, which was heading towards the Brandenburg Gate, several chanted “we are the second wave”, “resistance” or “the biggest conspiratorial theory is the pandemic of the new coronavirus”.
Few of them wore a mask, according to an AFP journalist. And the physical distance of one meter fifty normally mandatory was not respected.
After several warnings from the police requiring participants to respect barrier gestures, they decided to dissolve the demonstration at the end of the afternoon.
“Please move away quickly and if possible alone or in small groups from the old meeting place,” Berlin police tweeted. She has already indicated that she has filed a complaint against the organizer of the event because of “non-compliance with hygiene rules”.
Several counter-demonstrators, including a procession of “grandmothers against the extreme right”, called these activists “Nazis”. The motto of the protest, “Freedom Day”, is also the title of a film by Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl about Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP party conference in 1935.
Several politicians have criticized this mobilization. Saskia Esken, head of the Social Democrats, a minority party in the government coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, criticized these “Covidiots”.
“Without distance, without mask: they do not only endanger our health, but also our success against the pandemic and for the revival of the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!”, A- she tweeted.
Health Minister Jens Spahn followed suit: “yes, demonstrations must also be possible in times of coronavirus, but not like that. Distance, hygiene rules and masks serve to protect us all ; in this way, we treat each other with respect “.
Jan Redmann, leader of the CDU in the parliament of the Land of Brandenburg, estimated on this same social network: “1000 new infections per day again and in Berlin there are demonstrations against the anti-coronavirus measures? We cannot the more we allow these dangerous absurdities “.
Resumption of infections
If Germany has so far been rather spared by the pandemic which has claimed less than 9,200 victims, the authorities are alarmed at a slow recovery in the number of infections in recent weeks. On Saturday, the number of new infections increased by 955 compared to the previous day, a level that had not been reached since May 9, according to the Robert Koch Health Institute.