You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Berlin protests: Thousands of demonstrators march on German capital to protest coronavirus restrictions

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 01/08/2020 Ellena Cruse
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Thousands took to the streets of Berlin in protest against measures imposed in Germany to stem the coronavirus pandemic

Around 15,000 people marched around the capital on Saturday including self-described libertarians, constitutional loyalists and sceptics of the science behind policies to fight the pandemic.

They said the Covid-19 measures implemented by the Government had violated rights and freedoms.

There was also a small far-right presence with some marchers carrying Germany’s imperial flag.

Protesters danced and sang ‘We are free people!’ to the tune of rock band Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.

Others marched with placards saying ‘We are making a noise because you are stealing our freedom!’ and ‘Do think! Don’t wear a mask!’.

a crowd of people walking down the street: Thousands joined the march in Germany (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Thousands joined the march in Germany (AFP via Getty Images)

The protests followed a rallying call from Michael Ballweg, an entrepreneur and political outsider who has organised 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.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A demonstrator holds a Prussian flag during a protest against the Government's restrictions (REUTERS) © Provided by Evening Standard A demonstrator holds a Prussian flag during a protest against the Government's restrictions (REUTERS)

“The mask that enslaves us must go.”

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

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: People attend a demonstration of initiated by the initiative © Provided by Evening Standard People attend a demonstration of initiated by the initiative

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

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.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Protesters said the restrictions violated their human rights (AFP via Getty Images) © Provided by Evening Standard Protesters said the restrictions violated their human rights (AFP via Getty Images)

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 government’s lead are heard,” said protester Peter Konz.

Those who hold different views “are silenced, censored or discredited as defenders of conspiracy theories”.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

Evening Standard
Evening Standard
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon