Thousands of Germans from across the political spectrum turned out to protest the Wuhan coronavirus lockdown measures in several cities for a second weekend.
Demonstrations took place in several major cities including Berlin and Munich. Stuttgart administrators had issued a permit for 5,000 attendees, but more than 5,000 protested on Saturday, resulting in overflows out of the designated area.
Those attending the protest, according to a report by Le Point, came from a variety of political backgrounds from far-left extremists, to conspiracy theorists, and to right-wing activists.
President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution Thomas Haldenwang told Die Welt that most of the protesters who participated were “constitutionally loyal citizens” but claimed that various extremist groups were trying to hijack the demonstrations.
“We see a trend that extremists, especially right-wing extremists, are exploiting the demonstration,” Haldenwang told the newspaper.
— Georg Pazderski (@Georg_Pazderski) May 16, 2020
“There is a risk that right-wing extremists will use their enemy images and state-destroying goals to lead the coronavirus demonstrations, which are currently being carried out mostly by constitutionally loyal citizens,” he added and compared the situation to that of the 2015 migrant crisis.
On Friday in the town of Stralsund in northern Germany, a mock tombstone was placed outside the constituency office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel with the inscription: “Freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom democracy. 1990-2020.”
The slogan, a comparison to the fall of the East German Republic, came just before one of the well-known civil rights activists of that era, Angelika Barbe, was arrested for participating in an anti-lockdown protest in Berlin on Saturday.
The 68-year-old former MP, who has supported the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in recent years, was filmed being arrested on the outskirts of a protest while claiming she simply wanted to go to a shop.
“I just asked the police why they blocked off a demo of Antifa. Shortly afterwards, I was torn away,” she said.
The protests coincided with similar demonstrations in various other countries such as the UK where demonstrators took to London’s Hyde Park where several people were arrested, including the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Piers Corbyn.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 17, 2020