The Associated Press reported that nine different protests took place on Saturday, despite the banning of several of the protests over concerns over the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
However, a court ruled that one of the protests planned for 500 people could take place on Saturday and Sunday.
Thousands of police were stationed around Berlin to respond to the protests, trying to disperse the crowds that had gathered despite orders forbidding them to assemble.
Videos and photos posted on social media showed many people gathered on the city streets, most of those seen without masks, as police forcibly arrested some protesters.
BREAKING – Germany: Massive police violence reported in Berlin during today’s peaceful anti-COV_ID protest pic.twitter.com/kYGwJCyhIC
– M. Wolf (@mole_cola) August 28, 2021
Counter-protesters also gathered in the area, including one called the “Love Train,” the AP reporting that the group was also able to attract large crowds to support restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19.
Saturday’s protests followed protests for anti-coronavirus measures earlier this month that led to clashes between police and some protesters, as authorities arrested more than 600 people, according to The Guardian.
For weeks, German leaders have been considering whether to impose additional restrictions on unvaccinated people attending public gatherings, including in restaurants, cinemas and stadiums.
About 61% of the German population was fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on Saturday, according to Reuters.
Protests have also taken place across Europe in recent weeks as governments scramble to determine the best ways to handle the new outbreaks of the virus, which are mostly occurring among unvaccinated groups.
In France, protesters gathered every Saturday for more than a month to oppose the country’s new health pass required in restaurants, museums and other places.
The pass includes a QR code that businesses can scan for an individual to show that they have been fully vaccinated or recently had a negative COVID-19 test.
While around 64% of the French population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and a majority of French citizens support the health pass, a noisy minority has taken to the streets on several occasions against the measure, arguing that ‘it violates individual freedoms.