In an eyebrow-raising incident, an estimated 38k people came down to the streets of Berlin in a mostly peaceful protest against the coronavirus-related lockdown.
German police arrested some 300 protestors from Berlin, and later some protestors attempted to storm in the German federal parliament Reichstag, the BBC reported.
They were narrowly prevented from entering the parliament by the police who were present in disproportionate numbers for a 30k plus crowd.
Some of the protestors flashed insignia from the far-right Reichsbürger (Reich Citizens) movement including Nazi symbols and former Imperial flags. German leaders have bashed the public display saying it is ‘unacceptable’ and ‘shameful.’
German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned the incident on Instagram, saying we will never accept this. “Flags from the Reich and far-right profanity in front of the German parliament are an unacceptable attack on the heart of our democracy,” he wrote on Instagram.
Germany, like every other nation in the world, imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, but the bizarre demand to reopen sounds otherworldly where the virus is highly contagious and spreads alarmingly in uncontrolled crowds.
German media Deutsche Welle noted, the public demonstration brandished images inappropriate in modern German democracy.
The incident drew comparisons from the 1933 fire at the parliamentary palace Reischstag weeks after Nazi leader Hitler was named Chancellor of eh German state.
Fire engulfed the Reichstag in 1933 which was seen as a pretext to invoke the communist and consolidate power while establishing the Nazi in the state.
Steffen Seibert, spokesperson of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “The scenes of this weekend’s demonstration should not obscure the fact that the vast majority of people in Germany think and act differently than the demonstrators in Berlin. That is why Germany has made it through the pandemic so far.”
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Rallies have been documented in other European cities where some demonstration even compared mask-wearing mandate with a new type of fascism.
“Masks are muzzles” and “new normal = new fascism” read some placards held by hundreds of demonstrators in Central London’s Trafalgar Square.
An anti-climate protestor Piers Corbyn, 73, organized the Monday demonstration in London and has been reportedly slapped with a £10,000 fine for undermining new coronavirus rules in the UK, the Telegraph reported.
In Paris, some 300 protestors demonstrated from the restrictions imposed in the city to curb the virus. The protestors slammed COVID-19 and mask-wearing mandates saying they’re ‘hoax’ while falsely claiming the virus only infected people aged over 60.
Similar anti-lockdown protests also took place in Vienna and Zurich. The COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that originated in Wuhan last year, and in three months it went on to become a pandemic, which has so far infected over 26 million people worldwide, killing hundreds of thousands.
Germany was one of the nations which have managed to control the spread of the virus and keep the above-70s death rate low. But since April, as the lockdown-related restrictions were relaxed, cases started to pile up and there has been in a further rise in August.
Germany has one of the lowest numbers of infections in Europe, as compared to major European nations like Spain, UK, Italy, France, and Belgium.
So far, there has been 242,000 recorded cases with 9,297 deaths, both significantly less than Europe’s most-affected nation that is Russia which has 985,346 cases, as per Statista report.