Thousands of protesters against Germany's coronavirus restrictions took to the streets around the country on Saturday, leaving 12 officers injured in the eastern city of Dresden. Many of the demonstrators were members of the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement, composed of right-wing activists, COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaccination activists.
Multiple arrests made during Dresden demonstration
At least 1,000 people showed up during the Dresden demonstration, with 47 criminal violations having occurred during the march, including violation of gun control laws and aggression toward police officers. A 36-year-old was taken into temporary custody and three others were arrested due to criminal acts towards officers.
In the nation's capital, Berlin, some 1,000 protesters congregated in front of the Federal Health Ministry. Fifty people were stopped by police due to health and safety violations. Around a dozen counter-protesters also showed up at the event.
'Enough is enough,' Stuttgart protesters say about restrictions
In the southern city of Stuttgart, more than 750 demonstrators showed up, many of them not wearing masks or social distancing. Stuttgart demonstrators gathered under the motto "enough is enough."
During the Stuttgart demonstration, journalists working for the public TV broadcaster SWR were attacked by protesters, although no one was injured. The DJV Baden-Württemberg journalists union condemned the attack on the press and expressed solidarity with the members of the media working under difficult conditions.
Police break up Munich demonstration
In Munich, police broke up a demonstration near the Bavarian state parliament. According to data from police, 2,500 demonstrators attended, despite only 500 participants allowed to take part in the event.
"The demonstration was terminated by police because of non-compliance with conditions," a spokesperson for the Munich police said.
Another notable demonstration occurred in the western city of Düsseldorf, where 2,000 people had gathered. Hundreds had also demonstrated in Hannover.
Restrictions to last until end of March
The German government has extended coronavirus restrictions until at least March 28, with restaurants, bars, sports and leisure venues having been closed since the beginning of November. The most recent set of restrictions call for shops to open depending on local infection rates.
Germany is currently seeing a rise in coronavirus cases, with the 7-day incidence rate for infections on Saturday rising to 76.1 cases per 100,000 residents, a jump from 72.4 the day before. Germany's public health body, the Robert Koch Institute, has predicted the incidence rate could soon rise dramatically, reaching 350 by mid-April.
wd/sms (AP, dpa)