Coronavirus: Thousands of people protest in Germany against restrictions

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Reuters

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The atmosphere is peaceful but few people wear masks


Thousands of people in the German capital Berlin take part in a protest against the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

Protesters claim the measures, including the wearing of face masks, violate their rights and freedoms.

Germany has been less severely affected by the pandemic than some European countries, but cases are starting to rise again.

As of Friday, it recorded more than 900 new cases and seven deaths.

According to official estimates, at least 15,000 people are participating in the protests, which are called “freedom day”.

Protesters waved banners with slogans such as “Corona, false alarm”, “We are forced to wear a muzzle”.

Damian McGuinness of the BBC in Berlin says some are far-right and some are conspiracy theorists who don’t believe Covid-19 exists, but others are ordinary people who simply oppose the approach of government in the face of the pandemic.

The atmosphere is peaceful but hardly anyone wears a face mask or observes the required social distance, explains our correspondent.

“Our request is to return to democracy. Far from these laws that have been imposed on us, far from the masks that make us slaves, ”said one woman.

Restrictions in Germany include wearing masks in shops and on public transport, social distancing rules and hygiene requirements apply nationwide. Mandatory tests have been introduced for vacationers returning from high risk areas.

Germany has recorded more than 210,000 coronavirus cases and more than 9,000 related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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