The rally was part of a planned protest movement organized for weeks called “The End of the Pandemic – Freedom Day”. Some protesters carried signs with phrases such as “We have to wear a muzzle” and “Corona, false alarm”.
Authorities estimated that nearly 15,000 people joined the protests, with participants ranging from libertarians to scientific skeptics and far-right marchers waving a German imperial flag, Reuters reported.
“Our demand is to return to democracy,” said one protester who chose to remain anonymous. “The mask that enslaves us must disappear. “
Protesters reportedly encountered some opposition, as law enforcement attempted to separate a large crowd by using megaphones to convey messages reminding participants to keep their social distances.
The decision to protest the restrictions on the pandemic comes as the German government has gradually abandoned some lockdown measures while maintaining social distancing rules and masking requirements inside shops and public transport.
Germany reported a spike of 955 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, marking an upward trend for the country, according to its National Center for Disease Control.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 200,000 have been infected with the virus in Germany and 9,154 have died since the start of the pandemic. The country has not been as badly affected as other European countries, but is starting to see a rebound in case numbers.