Thousands protested Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration marking what organizers called “the end of the pandemic”
With few masks in sight, a dense crowd marched through downtown Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate.
Protesters who came from across the country held up homemade signs with slogans like “Corona, false alarm,” “We are being forced to wear a muzzle,” “Natural defense instead of vaccination” and “We are the second wave.”
They chanted, “We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!”
Protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have drawn a variety of attendees, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.
There was also a small far-right presence, with some protesters pictured carrying Germany’s imperial flag.
One demonstrator told reporters: “Our demand is to return to democracy.
“The mask that enslaves us must go.”
It comes amidst a concerning spike in infections in Germany – which was widely praised for its initial handling of the pandemic.
The country has seen a lower death toll many of its European neighbours after imposing a mass testing and contact tracing programme at an early stage of the outbreak.
Spain’s seven-day average has surged to 2,181 cases per day, up from 1,615 last week and forcing the UK to impose a quarantine for arrivals from the country.
The seven-day average in France also stands at 1,025, though health minister Oliver Veran has insisted the country is not experiencing a second wave of the virus.
So far, Germany has recorded 200,000 infections and nearly 1,000 deaths.
Politicians took to Twitter to the slam the protesters who were brazenly flouting social distancing rules.
“Thousands of #covidiots are celebrating themselves in Berlin as ‘the second wave,’ without distancing, without masks,” tweeted Saskia Esken, a co-leader of the Social Democrats, the junior party in Germany’s governing coalition.
“They are not just endangering our health, they are endangering our success against the pandemic and for the revival of the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!”
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