70.000 people turn out to protest coronavirus policies in Germany
In what is becoming a regular sight on Monday evenings in the federal republic, an estimated 70.000 people took part in demonstrations against coronavirus policies in Germany on January 17.
COVID protests and counter-protests in Germany on Monday night
On Monday evening, thousands of people across Germany turned out to protest against a possible general vaccine mandate and other measures being used by the government to control the spread of COVID-19. The protesters were met in many places by counter-demonstrations, and there were occasional clashes between protesters and police.
According to a police estimate, around 70.000 people took part in demonstrations on Monday evening. The largest were seen in Thuringia, where more than 21.000 people turned out. Other large gatherings were reported in Bavaria (14.000 participants), Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (11.000), Saxony-Anhalt, Brandenburg and Baden-Württemberg (7.000 each).
In places such as Rostock and Cottbus, there were clashes as protests were broken up for contravening rules about having a dedicated leader, or violating the mask requirement. Police deployed a water cannon in Rostock. In Gera, demonstrators resisted arrest, resulting in three police officers and three protesters sustaining injuries. Overall, however, the actions on Monday night were largely peaceful.
Candles lit in Greifswald to commemorate COVID dead
In Berlin, one of the biggest demos moved from Alexanderplatz in the direction of the Brandenburg Gate, with protestors marching under the banner, “Vaccinated and unvaccinated people against compulsory vaccination.” Protestors paused briefly outside the ZDF headquarters to decry what they called the “lying press”.
In Hamburg, around 3.000 people turned out to protest against COVID-19 measures and vaccination - in a demonstration that had been banned by officials - while across the city counter-protestors gathered under the slogan, “Solidarity and enlightenment instead of conspiracy theories.”
In Greifswald, people lit more than 1.500 candles in the main marketplace to commemorate COVID victims in the northeast. “We want to show that corona is a reality,” said Michael Steiger, a member of the “Greifswald for All” alliance.
The protests came as Germany hit a new record infection rate, with the Robert Koch Institute reporting 497,1 new cases per 100.000 inhabitants within the last seven days - surpassing the previous peak of 485,1, recorded on November 29.