Thousands marched in Berlin on Saturday to protest against measures imposed in Germany to stem the coronavirus pandemic, stating they broke people’s rights and freedoms.
The gathering, estimated by police at 17,000, included libertarians, constitutional loyalists and anti-vaccination activists. There was also a small far-right presence with some marchers carrying Germany’s black, white and red imperial flag.
Protesters danced and sang ‘We are free people!’ to the tune of the rock band Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’. Others marched with placards saying ‘We are making noise because you are stealing our freedom!’ and ‘Do think! Don’t wear a mask!’.
“Our demand is to return to democracy,” said one protester who declined to give his name. “The mask that enslaves us must go.”
Police filed a complaint against the organiser for failing to ensure marchers wore masks and kept their distance. Mainstream politicians criticised the protesters, with Social Democrat co-leader Saskia Esken calling them “covidiots”.
“They not only endanger our health, but they also endanger our successes against the pandemic,” tweeted Esken, whose party is Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partner.