‘The mask that enslaves us must go!’ Thousands march in Berlin side by side to protest coronavirus rules
Demonstrators labelled the protests: “The end of the pandemic: freedom day” against what they deem are draconian laws including lockdown.
It was estimated 15,000 people marched in Germany’s capital this Saturday with protesters singing “We are free people!” to the tune of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.
Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic. The country’s death toll — just over 9,150 people out of more than 210,670 confirmed virus cases as of Saturday — is five times less than Britain’s, which has a smaller population.
However, the people marched today said “Our demand is to return to democracy” and”The mask that enslaves us must go.”
“We want our freedom” another said.
The protests follow a rallying cry from entrepreneur and politician Michael Ballweg, who has previously organised demonstrations in the city of Stuttgart – where he is running to become mayor.
The protesters marched through the city from the Brandenburg Gate through a wide boulevard to the Tiergarten.
They marched side by side without masks in defiance of what they deemed to be their freedoms and democracy taken away.
However, officials have been warning against complacency as the number of new COVID-19 cases has crept up recently. Amid concerns about residents bringing home infections from summer trips abroad, officials introduced free tests for people entering the country.
Germany’s national disease control center registered 955 new cases Friday, a high figure by recent standards.
“Thousands of #covidiots are celebrating themselves in Berlin as ‘the second wave,’ without distancing, without masks,” tweeted Saskia Esken, a co-leader of the Social Democrats, the junior party in Germany’s governing coalition.
“They are not just endangering our health, they are endangering our success against the pandemic and for the revival of the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!”
Germany made masks mandatory in shops and other public areas under new rules set out by the government recently.