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Heavy security presence in an anti-COVID measures protest
Anti-COVID measures protests have often turned violent in recent weeksImage: Felix Kästle/dpa/picture alliance

Thousands protest Germany's COVID measures

December 28, 2021

Towns across eastern Germany saw the largest turnouts in protests against a planned vaccine mandate and new restrictions. At least 10 police officers have reportedly been injured in riots in Saxony.

https://p.dw.com/p/44t00

Thousands of people demonstrated on Monday against coronavirus restrictions in Germany.

The protests came in response to new restrictions on private gatherings and a ban on spectators at public events ahead of New Year celebrations. The German parliament also approved a vaccine mandate for medical staff earlier this month.

In recent weeks, demonstrations against COVID measures have flared up across Germany — and often turned violent, with police officers injured and protesters arrested.

Eastern states see most protests

Police in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania reported that a total of 15,000 protesters took to the streets in various towns. 

According to police in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, around nine criminal charges involving resisting arrest, inflicting bodily harm, damage to property and the use of symbols of unconstitutional and terrorist organizations were handed out to protesters.

A large group of protesters in Rostock marches down a street
Protesters expressed their anger over Germany's latest restrictions on private gatheringsImage: Bernd Wüstneck/dpa/picture alliance

In the eastern state of Brandenburg, around 9,000 demonstrators protested, according to police.

In the city of Halle in the eastern Saxony-Anhalt state, there were around 1,500 demonstrators, police said.

In the town of Bautzen in Saxony, police were attacked with fireworks and pelted with bottles as they attempted to break up the crowd. The dpa news agency reported, citing police, that at least 10 officers were injured.

Police were also deployed to break up gatherings in Saxony's two most populous cities, Dresden and Leipzig.

Some 2,000 people demonstrated in the city of Gera in the central state of Thuringia, and around 1,300 rallied in the nearby Altenburg, police reported.

Protesters in in the market square of Köthen, an illuminated Christmas tree is visible
Despite low temperatures and icy roads, anti-COVID measures protesters have continued to take to the streetsImage: Heiko Rebsch/dpa/picture alliance

Court imposes fines, suspended sentences 

In the Bavarian town of Schweinfurt, three protesters received suspended prison sentences on Monday, while a fourth person was fined by the local court.

During a protest on Sunday, eight police officers and several rally participants were injured, including a 4-year-old child.

Two men received suspended sentences of 12 and eight months for resisting arrest, assault and bodily harm or attempted bodily harm.

A woman received a six-month suspended prison sentence for resisting arrest and assaults on law enforcement

Germany is currently grappling with a fifth wave of COVID-19 cases, spurred on by the more transmissible omicron variant of the virus. The omicron variant has been detected in all of Germany's 16 states. 

Germany fights omicron: Simon Young reports

sdi/fb (AFP, dpa)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing, to stay on top of developments as Germany enters the post-Merkel era.

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