HomeAnalysisThousands show up to protest against Germanyโ€™s coronavirus policies

Thousands show up to protest against Germanyโ€™s coronavirus policies

Thousands of people across Germany demonstrated against coronavirus-related restrictions on Saturday, in some cases with far more participants showing up than had been approved.

In the southern city of Munich, far more people than the 1,000 participants approved by the city wanted to demonstrate.

Police did not allow any more people into the cordoned-off demonstration area set up on the Theresienwiese, where the annual Oktoberfest beer festival usually takes place.

The overflow participants lined up along pavements in the area before police began taking them away. Protesters remained largely peaceful.

Munich had allowed a maximum of 1,000 protesters to demonstrate, as long as they kept 1.5 metres apart and stuck to a time limit of two hours.

Several other cities in Bavaria, as well as other parts of Germany, also saw protests.

Dozens of people took part in various demonstrations in the heart of Berlin on Saturday, with nearly 1,000 police officers on hand to ensure that they followed coronavirus safety precautions.

At Alexanderplatz alone, near the cityโ€™s landmark Television Tower, four different protests took place. Officers made sure that no more than 50 people were standing together, cordoned off by red-and-white tape.

People within the taped-off areas had to stay 1.5 metres apart.

More than 40 demonstrators, with loudspeakers and banners, were protesting against coronavirus conspiracy theories and in support of refugeesโ€™ rights, while a few metres away, dozens demonstrated against coronavirus restrictions and mandatory vaccination.

Another group of protesters were at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, the site of demonstrations against hygiene rules over the past few weeks.

Last Saturday, more than 1,200 people gathered at Alexanderplatz to take part in protests, not all of which were allowed.

In the south-western city of Stuttgart, thousands showed up.

While only 5,000 participants were officially allowed to gather at the approved area, many more came together outside the designated area.

Participants, many of whom carried Germanyโ€™s national flag and did not wear face masks, had to remain 2.5 metres apart.

Some chanted slogans condemning the press and the dumbing-down of the population.

One sign called the face mask regulation modern slavery, while others read โ€œCoronavirus is fakeโ€ and โ€œDonโ€™t give (Bill) Gates a chance,โ€ in reference to theories that seek to paint multi-billionaire Microsoft founder Bill Gates as the enemy.

Demonstrations also took place in Hamburg, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Essen, among other German cities.

Police in Frankfurt had trouble keeping protesters and counter-protesters apart. Each side numbered about 1,500 participants.

One man was arrested after giving the Hitler salute, which is illegal in Germany.

However, while there were occasional heated exchanges of words, there was no physical violence, according to police.

A camera crew with German public broadcaster ZDF was harassed during a protest in the eastern city of Halle, according to police.

The crew had wanted to film near a vehicle carrying demonstrators, which led to the journalists being verbally attacked, a police spokesman said. Police intervened to prevent a further escalation.

The ZDF crew later left the site of the demonstrations of their own accord, under police protection.

No one was reported to be injured.

Earlier this month, another ZDF camera crew was attacked on the sidelines of May Day protests, with one man beaten until he lost consciousness, according to police.

Demonstrations against the restrictions, often disregarding current social distancing and hygiene rules, have taken place over the past few weeks across Germany.

Conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxxers and right-wing populists have been among those protesting.

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