Scuffles in Berlin as Covid sceptics defy protest ban

Published August 2, 2021
Demonstrators walk along Berlin’s Bismarckstrasse during the protest.—AP
Demonstrators walk along Berlin’s Bismarckstrasse during the protest.—AP

BERLIN: Thousands of anti-lockdown demonstrators defied a court-ordered protest ban on Sunday and gathered in the streets of Berlin, resulting in scuffles with police.

Police said some protesters had “harassed and attacked” officers and ignored roadblocks, disrupting traffic in parts of the German capital.

“They tried to break through the police chain and pull out our colleagues. This led to the use of irritants, batons and physical violence,” Berlin police tweeted.

Several people were arrested, they added.

The protest was called by the “Querdenker” (Lateral Thinkers) movement, which has emerged as the loudest voice against Germany’s coronavirus restrictions.

Judges had banned several of its planned demos this weekend, including one for Sunday that was expected to draw some 22,500 people.

The court said it could not allow the rallies to go ahead over fears that participants would flout rules on mask wearing and social distancing, at a time when Germany’s infection numbers are on the rise again.

Berlin police deployed more than 2,000 officers in riot gear across the city, in anticipation of protesters ignoring the ban.

According to police, several thousand people turned out on Sunday, mainly in the city’s western Charlottenburg district and the centre.

Officers threatened to use water cannon to disperse crowds heading towards the Brandenburg Gate in the afternoon, after which people began to leave, police said.

Some of the demonstrators held up signs saying “Freedom” and “No to the corona dictatorship”, with few masks seen among them.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd , 2021

Opinion

Royal taxidermy
16 Sep 2021

Royal taxidermy

The king’s death was hastened so it could be announced in the morning papers.
A great leap backward
Updated 15 Sep 2021

A great leap backward

Courses appear to reinforce a closed mindset and have nothing to do with the requirements of a modern education system.

Editorial

Aid for Afghans
16 Sep 2021

Aid for Afghans

Humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.
16 Sep 2021

Wheat price

THE government’s decision to raise the wheat release price, or the rate at which provinces issue their grain ...
16 Sep 2021

Keeping the press out

ON Monday, the government yet again displayed its rising contempt for the freedom of press — this time in...
15 Sep 2021

Election trends

THE cantonment board elections are over and their results offer an opportunity for introspection to all major...
15 Sep 2021

Grace marks

THE decision to promote all students awaiting the results of their board exams by awarding grace marks is likely to...