BERLIN (AP) — Protesters against coronavirus restrictions have gathered in Berlin for a demonstration titled “The end of the pandemic — freedom day.” It comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany.
A crowd of people whistling and cheering — and with few masks in sight — marched from the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday ahead of a rally on a wide boulevard that runs through the city’s Tiergarten park.
Protesters held up homemade placards featuring slogans that included “Corona, false alarm,” “We are being forced to wear a muzzle” and “Natural defense instead of vaccination.” Some chanted “We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom.”
Demonstrations against restrictions this year have drawn a variety of people, including some conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists. People came from various parts of Germany for Saturday’s protest.
Germany’s management of the pandemic has widely been viewed as relatively successful, with a lower death rate than comparable countries. The country has been easing lockdown measures since late April but social-distancing rules remain in place, as does a requirement to wear masks in public transport and shops.
Infection figures have crept up over the past few weeks and officials have warned against complacency.