Thousands of people protest in Berlin against coronavirus restrictions

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BERLIN – Thousands of protesters against Germany’s coronavirus restrictions converged in Berlin on Saturday for a protest proclaiming that “the end of the pandemic” has come as authorities express growing concern over an upsurge in new infections. A crowd of people hissing and clapping, and with a few masks in sight, marched through Berlin city center from the Brandenburg Gate before a rally on a wide boulevard that runs through the city’s Tiergarten park.

Protesters held up homemade signs with slogans that included “Corona, false alarm”, “We are forced to wear a muzzle”, “Natural defense instead of vaccination” and “End the corona panic – bring back basic rights. “.

They chanted: “We are here and we are loud, because we are deprived of our freedom”.

The protest, titled “The End of the Pandemic – Freedom Day”, was scheduled for weeks and drew people from different parts of Germany. Police used megaphone to urge participants to obey distancing rules and wear masks.

Previous protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have drawn a variety of participants, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.

Germany’s handling of the pandemic was considered relatively successful. The death toll in the country – just over 9,150 out of more than 210,670 confirmed cases of the virus on Saturday – is lower than in comparable countries.

The German government has eased lockdown measures since the end of April, but social distancing rules remain in place, as does the requirement to wear masks on public transport and in stores.

Officials have warned of complacency as the number of new cases has risen in recent weeks. They begged the Germans this week to observe the distancing and masking rules and, amid concern that residents are bringing home on summer trips abroad, introduced free testing for people. entering the country.

Germany’s National Center for Disease Control on Friday recorded 955 new cases, a high figure by recent standards which highlighted the upward trend.

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