Berlin bans planned weekend protests over coronavirus restrictions, and makes far-right fury

Roughly 20,000 people gathered on August 1 in Berlin, Germany without face masks or adhering to social distance measures to protest against coronavirus restrictions. Now, Berlin officials are banning anti-restriction protests planned for this weekend, angering many of the country’s far-right supporters.

The assembly’s authority lifted the ban on Wednesday, saying “police would act consistently if large crowds were to form anyway.” Thousands of police are expected to be deployed this weekend to enforce the ban, according to Reuters.

The government justifies the ban by claiming that the participants are likely to be in breach of public health guidelines.

More than 240,500 people in Germany have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins, including more than 11,000 in Berlin. While the number of daily cases in the country gradually decreased between late April and late July, the number of daily cases has roughly doubled from 1 August to 26 August, the data show.

Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel posted about the decision on Facebook, saying that “this is not a decision against freedom of assembly,” but a decision to protect against infection.

“We are still in the midst of a pandemic with an increasing number of infections. That cannot be denied. We must therefore strike a balance between the fundamental right to freedom of assembly and that of the integrity of life,” he said. according to a translation of his remarks. “We have chosen life.”

I welcome the decision of the assembly of several demonstrations, which will take place in Berlin in the coming weeks …

Posted by Andreas Geisel on Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

Geisel added that participants in the meeting that took place at the beginning of August “deliberately broke the rules they had previously accepted in conversations with the police.” Those protections, he said, include wearing some sort of face mask and maintaining roughly 5 feet of social distancing.

“Such behavior is unacceptable. The state will not deceive,” Geisel said. “… I am not ready to accept a second time that Berlin is being abused as a platform for corona deniers, citizens of the Empire and right-wing extremists.”

Berlin has ordered that people stay about 5 meters apart and that people wear a face mask in public areas and indoor facilities. Public events with more than 1,000 people will only be allowed until September 1. Those who do not comply with these and other regulations may be fined.

Thousands were reunited this Saturday to protest against coronavirus restrictions. Protest organizer Michael Ballweg, founder of the group Querdenken 711, posted online that the ban has “confirmed” that coronavirus guidelines are a way to “restrict basic rights.”

Jörg Meuthen, Member of the European Parliament and spokesman for the far-right political group Alternative for Germany (AfD), said on Facebook that the ban “is an attack on the fundamental rights of the people to freedom of expression and assembly.”

AfD plans to hold a demonstration against the ban on Saturday outside the Brandenburg Gate.

“The foremost justification for this irresponsible and politically blind measure was that Protestants were expected to violate hygiene rules that could not be accepted,” Meuthen said, adding that Geisel’s comments about “corona deniers, citizens of the Rich and right-wing extremists “is” completely irrelevant. ”

“It is in principle very simple: Democracy and freedom can only work if ALL citizens can express their convictions peacefully and freely, not only in the ballot box but also in the form of demonstrations on the streets,” he said. “At the moment, although some people do not want to hear this, there is exactly one political force of interest in our country that resolutely opposes this fatal development. This is us, the alternative to Germany.”

Dear reader, Yesterday the Berlin Senate held a large demonstration for the coming Saturday against the …

Posted by prof. Dr. Jörg Meuthen on Wednesday, 26 August 2020