German minister brands anti-virus measure protesters 'Covidiots'

Clay Curtis
August 2, 2020

Police ended the main demonstration after determining that organisers were not able to ensure health and safety regulations were being followed.

Protest violence in Berlin on Saturday left 18 police officers injured, as German law enforcement struggled to disperse a 20,000-strong rally.

The police tweeted that a criminal complaint has been filed against the organizers for failing to comply with the regulations.

Many protesters did not wear masks and disregarded social distancing rules. They pleaded with Germans this week to observe the distancing and mask rules and, amid concern about residents bringing home infections from summer trips overseas, introduced free tests for people entering the country.

"We're here and we're loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom", the crowd chanted.

"A thousand new infections a day still and in Berlin there are protests against anti-virus measures?"

"Freedom Day", the rally was made up of several groups, including right-wing groups, opponents of vaccines, and conspiracy theorists.

Germany enforced a strict lockdown in mid-March and started to ease it from the end of April.

"No distancing, no mask".

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In Stuttgart, the same group has repeatedly demonstrated against the restrictions imposed by the German government to contain the coronavirus and in support of the protection of fundamental rights.

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".

She wrote, "Yes, demonstrations should be allowed even amid the pandemic".

"Thousands of #covidiots are being celebrated in Berlin as "the second wave", without distancing themselves, without masks", Saskia Esken, co-leader of the Social Democrats, the minor party in Germany's ruling coalition, tweeted.

Demonstrators, a lot of them not wearing masks, carried placards with slogans against Covid-19 restrictions, vaccinations, and face "muzzles." .

Despite the rising number of confirmed infection cases, about 17,000 people turned up here on Saturday rallying against social distancing rules meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic, which was later dispersed by the police.

However, protests are still permitted, with authorities urging participants to be cautious.

Saturday's protests, through the streets of the German capital, went ahead despite a new spike in domestic cases, and warnings that Europe is being hit by a second wave.

Check out our new six-part podcast series Notes on a Pandemic as CGTN Europe finds out how business, science and people have risen to the challenge of COVID-19.

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