Berlin protesters decry coronavirus measures; 600 detained
Thousands turned out in Berlin to protest the German Government's anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to clashes with the police and the detention of some 600 protesters. The local authorities had banned several different protests this weekend, including one from the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, but protesters in Berlin defied the ban.
Officers were harassed and attacked: Police
Berlin's police department deployed more than 2,000 officers to try and disperse the protests on Sunday, but it said officers who sought to redirect protesters or disband larger groups were harassed and attacked. "They tried to break through the police cordon and pull out our colleagues," Berlin Police said, adding that officers had to use irritants and batons.
Police threatened protesters with water cannons
As the crowds made their way from Berlin's Charlottenburg neighborhood through Tiergarten Park toward the Brandenburg Gate, the police warned via loudspeaker that they would use water cannons if the protesters did not disperse. By Sunday evening, police had detained about 600 people, according to the German media, and protesters were still marching through the city.
Germany reported 2,097 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday
Although the new coronavirus cases in Germany remain low compared with neighboring countries, the delta variant has sparked an increase in new infections in the last few weeks. On Sunday, Germany reported 2,097 new cases, an increase of over 500 over the previous Sunday.
Querdenker movement has drawn thousands to its demonstrations in Berlin
The Querdenker movement, the most visible anti-lockdown movement in Germany, has drawn thousands to its demonstrations in Berlin, uniting a disparate mix on both the right and the left, including those opposing vaccinations, coronavirus deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists. Earlier this year, Germany's domestic intelligence service warned the movement was becoming increasingly radical and put some of its adherents under surveillance.
President of Germany's parliament sharply criticized the movement
Wolfgang Schauble, President of Germany's parliament, sharply criticized the Querdenker movement, encouraging people not to be fooled by cheap slogans. "If practically all experts worldwide say the coronavirus is dangerous and vaccination helps, then who actually has the right to say, actually, I'm smarter than that?" he said. The protests follow other demonstrations against coronavirus measures around Europe.
Over 2,00,000 protested against vaccination requirements in France
More than 2,00,000 people turned out on Saturday in France to protest vaccination requirements for the third straight weekend, at times clashing with the police. Some 80,000 others protested in cities across Italy last weekend.