German authorities arrested on Saturday dozens of protesters for flouting the government’s coronavirus measures.
About 1,000 activists comprised of far-left and right-wing groups gathered in Berlin for the rally. Some accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of “banning life while others called for freedom and to stop the pharmaceutical lobby.
The protest organisers’ website called on the German government to “end the state of emergency” and played down any risks posed by the virus.
Opposition to the lockdown measures is being led by the far-right group, the main opposition force in the German parliament.
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has accused the government of exaggerating the risk posed by the virus and has called for the immediate reopening of all businesses amid the lockdown’s potential damage to the economy.
Protests in Berlin became a weekly event but according to German authorities in their official Twitter account, the protest was not in line with the rules as the government, under its emergency regulations, bars any gathering of more than 20 people, thus the need for the activists to disperse.
Police set up barriers around Rosa Luxemburg square where protests should take place. They ended up gathering in nearby roads.
Merkel’s popularity remains high in Germany, even receiving plaudits for her management of the health crisis which has seen Germany’s coronavirus infection numbers remain significantly lower than that of Italy, Spain, UK, and France where the death toll in each country has breached past 20,000.
Public discontent with the country’s lockdown rules, however, has been gradually growing as in other countries.
According to data from US-based research university Johns Hopkins University, as much as 5,877 people have already died from the virus in Germany.
PHOTO COURTESY: FLICKR