45 police officers injured during protests against viruses

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Berlin (AFP)

Some 45 police officers were injured in a wave of weekend protests in Berlin, including protests against coronavirus restrictions, police said as protesters again gathered in smaller numbers on Sunday.

A total of 133 people were arrested during Saturday’s protests, which included a huge “freedom day” protest against coronavirus restrictions, police said in a statement.

The arrests concerned offenses such as resisting the police, violating the peace and using unconstitutional symbols.

Three police officers had to be hospitalized, police said.

About 20,000 people took part in the “Freedom Day” protest, the majority not wearing masks and not meeting the social distancing requirement of 1.5 meters (five feet) from Germany.

The crowd, a mix of hard left and right, and conspiracy theorists, shouted ‘We are the second wave’ as they converged on the Brandenburg Gate, demanding ‘resistance’ and calling the pandemic ‘the greatest conspiracy theory “.

Police began to disperse the crowds late in the afternoon, but hundreds of protesters remained at the Brandenburg Gate late in the evening.

Police have launched legal proceedings against organizers for failing to comply with viral hygiene rules.

In another anti-fascist protest in the southern district of Neukoelln, protesters threw stones at police officers, threw fireworks and damaged two police vehicles and a local party office.

Several police officers were injured as the crowd dispersed, including three who were treated in hospital after being struck in the face by shards of glass.

Arrests were also made during small unofficial demonstrations.

A total of 1,100 officers were deployed during the day.

A few hundred protesters gathered west of the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, according to an AFP reporter at the scene, the majority wearing masks and respecting social distancing rules.

Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned about the rise in infections in recent weeks and politicians have taken to social media to criticize Saturday’s rally as irresponsible.

“Yes, protests should also be possible in times of coronavirus, but not like this,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

“The distance, the rules of hygiene and the masks serve to protect us all, so we treat each other with respect. “

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