FREEDOM With phrases and banners that allude to Nazism, protesters question restrictive measures against Covid-19 FABRIZIO BENSCH / REUTERS /
Summoned by several groups, among them from the extreme right, thousands of people took to the streets of Berlin this Saturday 1st to protest the restrictive circulation measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. The protests came after Germany’s Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said that “whoever deliberately puts others at risk must be aware that this will have serious consequences”. The demonstration was characterized by participants without protective masks and largely disrespecting the recommended social distance of 1.5 meters. Among those present were small traders who fear having to close their deals with new lockdowns.
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According to the public television station RBB Fernsehen, more than 7 thousand people participated in the event because they considered the restriction measures an attack on the freedom of choice to come and go. Banners with messages against the vaccine criticized alleged conspiracy movements in the pharmaceutical industry and demanded the fall of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. What caught the most attention was the campaign slogan: “The end of the pandemic – Freedom day”. According to organizers, the phrase is an allusion to the film “Freedom Day”, about the German army made by the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl in 1935. In addition, posters carried words like “We are the second wave”, “The mask is the Nazi star of David of the unvaccinated ”and“ The biggest conspiracy theory is the Corona pandemic ”. The neo-Nazi group “Querdenken 711” would be among the organizers.
Faced with the news that other movements are going to the streets to protest against the right-wing demonstrations, agents of the security force were reinforced to make the security of the streets, about 1,100 policemen. In addition, the Berlin policy has released on Twitter that it will sue organizers for disregarding “hygiene rules”. At the beginning of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was considered an example in the fight against the health crisis for having made strict social isolations and mass tests that reduced the number of cases in the country. “For someone like me, for whom freedom of movement was a right for which I fought hard, these restrictions can only be justified by their absolute necessity,” he said in March in a historic address on national video broadcasting, in a rare speech.
Five months later, however, Merkel is faced with thousands of demonstrators on the streets against measures to combat Covid-19 in the face of the increasing number of cases in the country. Data from the government agency Robert Koch Institute show records of more than 900 infected in the last 24 hours – in June, that number had dropped to 300. In addition to the increase in the number of infected in the country, on Thursday 30 a historic retraction was announced in the Germany’s GDP, 10.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2020. “Now it is a question of preventing the virus from spreading again in a fast and uncontrolled way”, said Lothar Wiele, president of the institution, in a press conference on 28 July.
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