Despite a ban on some demonstrations, thousands of people gathered in Berlin to protest the coronavirus policy, according to police. More than 50 temporary detentions were made by early evening. Police accompanied individual marches and, as they stated, repeatedly pulled provocateurs out of protest groups. There were several attacks on officers, and one police officer was injured.
The demonstrations took place in various parts of Berlin
On the Lessing Bridge, which connects the Tiergarten and Moabit districts, demonstrators tried to break through a police barrier, according to police. This was prevented by the use of pepper spray. RBB reported stormy scenes and fights.
“Tagesspiegel” wrote that there were also several unannounced protests. Demonstrators marched through the Mitte and Tiergarten districts, among others. The Berliner Zeitung reported that the march in Moabit grew to about 3,000 participants. Earlier, a demonstration was held in Berlin Mitte with less than 1,000 participants.
After several bans on single gatherings, according to eyewitnesses, at first a large number of people walked aimlessly through the streets. Initially, individual groups marched through the Friedrichshain district. The German press reports that the vast majority of people walked without masks or other protective gear.
10,000 people took part in the “procession of love”
In the neighboring district of Prenzlauer Berg, protesters then tried to join a “procession of love” in which some 10,000 people were expected to participate to house and techno music. Police prevented this with barriers. Police helicopters were sent to observe, and large areas of the district were cordoned off. Despite numerous bans on demonstrations, the police were prepared for large-scale action. According to their own information, some 2,000 officers were on standby, including support from Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony, Bavaria and Saxony.
Nine demonstrations were banned by the police, including the “Initiative Querdenken” rallies in Straße des 17 Juni. Three urgent appeals against the bans were rejected by the administrative court, one was upheld: A meeting registered for Saturday and Sunday, with 500 participants expected, was allowed. The event was then advertised through the social network Telegram.
Tens of thousands of people protested last year
Back in early August, thousands of people demonstrated in the German capital against coronavirus activities, despite the ban. At the time, police reported more than 5,000 participants. There were also attacks on police and a trade union representative. Hundreds of people were arrested.
A year ago, on August 29, 2020, tens of thousands of people protested in Berlin against the restrictions. Demonstrators got through the barrier of the Reichstag building and occupied the stairs in front of the entrance for some time. The pictures caused widespread outrage, as well as a stir in the international arena.