Berlin has once again become the scene of a massive protest against pandemic restrictions: Thousands of people gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a few steps from the historic Reichstag building, to oppose the reform of the infection protection law, which seeks to legally substantiate the restrictions already in force since last March to stop the expansion of the coronavirus.
While inside the Bundestag, the parliamentarians debated the controversial reform, outside, the police tried to disperse the concentration with water cannons after several warnings launched by their public address system: the majority of protesters did not carry mask and the distance The separation between attendees was clearly less than that established by the restrictions.
With the images still fresh from the failed attempted assault of the Reichstag last August by several hundred far-rightists, Reich Citizen -citizens who deny the existence of the Federal Republic and claim the recovery of the German Empire- and followers of the conspiracy theory of QAnon, the political district of Berlin woke up this Wednesday controlled by a huge police device.
“I was never a opponent to the system, but the obligation to wear a mask is the last straw. I want to be able to choose to wear it or not, and not for that reason become a public enemy of the State, “says Eannatte, a protester from Brandenburg, the federal state that surrounds Berlin, to EL PERIÓDICO. She is one of the thousands of people who mostly peaceful they wanted to express in the street their opposition to the new law to protect against infections and to the whole management of the pandemic by the authorities.
Eannatte fears that the Federal Republic will become a authoritarian state like the one in which she was socialized: the defunct German Democratic Republic (GDR). Opponents of the restrictions are of the opinion that Germany is at a time similar to that of March 1933, when the then Reichstag passed the “Ermächtigungsgesetz”, a law with which the parliament agreed. self-canceled and paved the way for the Nazi dictatorship led by Adolf Hitler.
The manifestation This Wednesday in the German capital confirms the dynamics seen in the German anti-crown movement over the last few months: it is a phenomenon that brings together the most diverse trends. In this mixed bag fit from Christians to Buddhists, through esotericists, defenders of Donald Trump, parents who refuse that their children have to wear a mask at school or small entrepreneurs who see their companies seriously endangered by the effective restrictions on economic activity.
In the concentration, from Christian songs to war cries and classics of the far right German names such as “Merkel muss weg” (“Merkel has to go”) or “Wir sind das Volk” (“We are the people”), and posters supporting the still president of the United States were also visible, Donald Trump, and various German regional flags.
The presence neo-nazi and far-right has also been undeniable. Some neo-Nazi groups and Reich Citizen have been mixed between families and aesthetic groups alternative. Even Andreas Kalbitz, a former leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Brandenburg, who was expelled by the AfD for his proximity to neo-Nazi groups, participated in the rally.
Despite the protests, and as expected, both the Bundestag (lower house) and the Bundesrat (territorial chamber) have finally approved the legislative reform that gives the legal basis to the exceptional decrees to restrict individual freedoms contained in the German Magna Carta. In the Bundestag, 415 deputies have voted in favor to 236 against. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed the law this Wednesday in a express process.
The reform establishes a catalog of measures that can be applied – temporarily – by decree by the federal government or by each of the 16 executives of the federated states. The law has received harsh criticism from a part of the parliamentary opposition, which considers that it concentrates too much power in the hands of the executive in the face of a parliament that is weakened. Extraordinary anti-pandemic measures will not have to be approved in parliament.