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Thousands protest coronavirus measures in Germany

October 4, 2020

Flouting virus rules, thousands of people attended protests and counter-demonstrations in the German city of Konstanz. Far fewer than the expected number of protesters participated in the weekend's rallies.

Coutner-protesters stand with banner in front of police
'Corona is not fake,' counter-protesters put on their bannerImage: Felix Kästle/dpa/picture-alliance

Several hundred protesters gathered on Sunday in the southern German city of Konstanz, marking the city's second day of protests against government-imposed coronavirus measures.

A police spokesperson said a total of 12 rallies with up to 11,000 participants were planned for Sunday, adding that 3,500 people had registered for protests in advance. Over the course of Sunday, police said about 2,000 people took part in the rallies.

Counter-protesters were also in the city for a number of events with live music close to the Swiss border later on Sunday, with police saying 1,000 people in attendance.

Deutschland | Coronavirus | Proteste in Konstanz
The weekend's events are organized by the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movementImage: Felix Kästle/dpa/picture-alliance

Police fired tear gas once to keep opposing groups away from each other. 

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of people flouted virus measures and joined an outdoor church service.

Police, who were deployed to ensure participants adhered to coronavirus rules, clashed with protesters at the church after most failed to wear a face mask, Germany's DPA news agency reported.

Read more: Germany's coronavirus skeptics: Tactics from the Middle Ages

Protesters create human chain 

Sunday's events come a day after several thousand people gathered in Konstanz to protest Germany's coronavirus policy. Protesters had tried to form a human chain around the shores of Lake Constance from Konstanz to the city of Lindau.

According to police, the human chain could not be closed as there were not enough people to stretch halfway around the lake.

Organizers had anticipated up to 130,000 people to show up, but police said only 10,000 to 11,000 people took part along protest the route.

The weekend's events are organized by the Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement. Querdenken was also behind two of Berlin's mass anti-coronavirus measures rallies, which saw right-wing extremists among its crowds. Police in Konstanz said no such symbols were seen at the weekend's demonstrations.

Kosntanz protesters with  banners and protesters
Protesters hope to to send a pan-European message against the bloc's COVID-19 measuresImage: Gian Ehrenzeller/Keystone/picture-alliance

The movement, which has been organizing meetings against the measures for months, had hoped to send a pan-European message against COVID-19 measures.

Located in the state of Baden-Württemberg and situated at the banks of Lake Constance, the popular student city has approximately 83,000 inhabitants.

mvb/sms (dpa, AFP)