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Thousands march in Berlin against corona restrictions

Thousands march in Berlin against corona restrictions

News Desk: Thousands marched in

Berlin on Saturday to protest

against measures imposed in Germany

to stem the coronavirus pandemic,

saying they violated people's rights

and freedoms.



The gathering, estimated by police

at 17,000, included libertarians,

constitutional loyalists and anti-

vaccination activists. There was

also a small far-right presence with

some marchers carrying Germany's

black, white and red imperial flag.



Protesters danced and sang 'We are

free people!' to the tune of rock

band Queen's 'We Will Rock You'.

Others marched with placards saying

'We are making a noise because you

are stealing our freedom!' and 'Do

think! Don't wear a mask!'.



"Our demand is to return to

democracy," said one protester who

declined to give his name. "The mask

that enslaves us must go."



The protests followed a rallying

call from Michael Ballweg, an

entrepreneur and political outsider

who has organised similar rallies in

Stuttgart and is running to become

mayor of the southwestern city.



Police filed a complaint against the

organiser for failing to ensure

marchers wore masks and kept their

distance. Mainstream politicians

criticised the protesters, with

Social Democrat co-leader Saskia

Esken calling them "covidiots".





"They not only endanger our health,

they endanger our successes against

the pandemic," tweeted Esken, whose

party is Chancellor Angela Merkel's

coalition partner.



After Germany's initial success in

curbing the pandemic, infections are

rising again. More than 200,000

people have caught COVID-19 and

nearly 1,000 have died from it.



Most people in Germany have

respected measures that include

wearing face masks in shops, while

the government has just imposed

mandatory tests for holidaymakers

returning from high-risk areas.



But a vocal minority is chafing

against the restrictions.



"Only a few scientists around the

world who follow the government's

lead are heard," said protester

Peter Konz. Those who hold different

views "are silenced, censored or

discredited as defenders of

conspiracy theories".



-Agencies

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