Thousands flood the streets in Germany to protest coronavirus restrictions
On Monday night, thousands of disgruntled protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against the federal and state governments' new restrictions aimed at combatting the spread of the coronavirus.
Coronavirus protests sweep across Germany
On Monday, several states implemented new, tougher restrictions meant to tackle the spread of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant. New restrictions were introduced in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Lower Saxony and Baden-Württemberg, with other states bringing in the new restrictions on Tuesday, which is the nationwide deadline for the new rules to be put in place.
The largest protest took place in Rockstock, the largest city in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, where some 6.500 people took to the streets to voice their displeasure at the restrictions. German police estimate that around 15.000 protestors joined the demonstrations in various towns across the state, leading to an assortment of criminal charges, including resisting arrest, inflicting bodily harm and property damage.
The cities of Mannheim and Ravensburg in Baden-Württemberg also saw violent protests. In Brandenburg, police estimate that around 9.000 people joined in the protests. The protests took place in cities across the country, including Halle in Saxony-Anhalt, Dresden and Leipzig in Saxony and Gera and Altenburg in Thuringia. In the town of Bautzen, in Saxony, police were attacked with fireworks and bottles, leaving ten officers injured.
Germany’s police force stretched thin
The GdP police union has said that Germany’s police force is being stretched to its limits by the protests and, because of this, were “ignoring other important aspects of police work such as traffic controls.” GdP spokesperson Oliver Malchow has said that this imbalance in police work will lead to officers “increasingly being an object of public anger.” This has been contested by Gerd Landsberg, the head of the association of local governments, who said that state authorities needed to “take a clear position against the anti-vaxxers. Carrying out traffic controls isn’t as important.”
During the protests, several police officers and demonstrators were injured. Several protestors also received suspended prison sentences for resisting arrest, bodily harm, attempted bodily harm and assault. Several others were hit with fines for their involvement in the protests.