Arrests and injuries as thousands protest COVID rules across Germany
Thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Germany on Monday evening to protest against coronavirus restrictions. A number of police officers were injured while trying to shut down demonstrations, and many arrests were made.
Thousands of anti-corona demonstrations across Germany
Monday saw a major night of unrest across Germany, as people turned out in their thousands to protest the government’s policies on coronavirus - particularly the as yet unconfirmed plan to make COVID vaccinations compulsory for all residents, although protestors also accused the government of creating divisions in society with the restrictions.
According to the German police, the largest gathering of demonstrators took place in Magdeburg, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt, where around 3.500 people took part in a protest. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern also saw around 7.000 people take part in at least 12 events in different cities. In Thuringia, police counted 6.000 protestors at 26 different events.
In Mannheim in Baden-Württemberg, six police officers were injured while trying to contain a demonstration of up to 2.000 participants. The rally, which was planned last week via Telegram, surprised police in its size. It was banned at 6.30pm but protestors ignored warnings and continued to march across the city. 121 people were arrested for violating the law of assembly. Three are facing criminal proceedings for various offences.
Protests also took place in Gummersbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, and in several places in Saxony. A police spokesperson said that most of the events were illegal - that is, they went ahead without gathering the necessary permissions first.
Right-wing extremism and violence at protests
Violence is becoming more common during protests against coronavirus measures. Just last weekend saw people rioting at various, unannounced demonstrations, and several police officers were injured. Politicians, police and intelligence agencies are concerned that right-wing extremist groups are increasingly becoming involved in the protests and pushing anti-democratic agendas.
The new Federal Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, has appealed to those taking part in the demos to distance themselves from these extremist groups. "Right-wing extremists and citizens of the Reich are trying to hijack the movement in order to pursue their own goals," she told the Funke media group.