Nearly 17,000 coronavirus “deniers” protest in Germany against restrictions | International

Several thousand people demonstrated this Saturday in Berlin to protest against preventive measures against the covid-19 pandemic that, according to them, limit individual liberties.

The protesters, some 17,000 according to the police, are less than the 500,000 announced by the organizers of the march, called “The End of the Pandemic – Freedom Day”.

This parade brought together “Freethinkers”, anti-vaccine activists, conspirators or even sympathizers of the extreme right.

Some shouted “We are the second wave”, “Resistance” or denounced the coronavirus as “a great conspiracy theory”.

Very few wore a mask, an Agence France-Presse journalist said at the scene, and the physical distance of one meter fifty was also not respected.

The Berlin police, who called on protesters through loudspeakers to respect the security measures, announced on Twitter that they filed a complaint against the organizers for “not respecting hygiene rules.”

Protesters believe that these measures should disappear, as the health crisis has been overcome.

“It is a pure scare tactic: I don’t see any danger with the virus. I don’t know other sick people. I met many sick people in March, skiers, tourists, something really happened in February, but now there are no more sick people, “Iris Birzenmeier told AFP.

An opinion shared by Anna-Maria Wetzel, who came with about fifteen friends from Bade-Wurtemberg (southwest), where she has already participated in several similar gatherings.

“Those who do not inform themselves, unlike us, are ignorant and believe what the government tells them. They go into the fear that the government puts in our heads. And fear weakens the immune system, “he launches.

Several counter-demonstrations, including that of the group Abuelas Contra la Extrema Derecha, called the protesters “Nazis.”

The slogan of the rally, “Freedom Day,” coincides with the title of a film by director Leni Riefenstahl about Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP party conference in 1935.

Germany has so far registered 9,200 deaths from the new coronavirus, a relatively low figure, but authorities are concerned with a slow increase in cases.

Several political leaders criticized this mobilization, including Saskia Esken, head of the Social Democrats, a minority party in the government coalition with the conservatives of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“Without distance, without a mask: they not only endanger our health, but also our success in the face of the pandemic and the revival of the economy, education and society. Irresponsible! ”He tweeted.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, for his part, was more sympathetic, since “there are always different opinions” when it comes to “restrictions on freedom”, although, according to him, “they are not the majority”.

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