Germans Join the Wave of Protests Sweeping Across Europe
As the number of protest movements around the world seems to increase, so do the number of reported Covid-19 infections. The aim of each protest is different, but they have all achieved similar results. In Germany, people have taken to the streets to protest the government’s coronavirus regulations, calling them restrictive and unconstitutional.
After initially curbing the infection rate, Covid-19 cases in Germany started rising again and fast. As of now, more than 200,000 people have been confirmed to have the disease and more than 9,000 have died.
Most German people follow the transmission-prevention regulations and wear masks indoors, yet, many see government-enforced restrictions as an infringement upon their rights.
The thousands of protesters that marched over the weekend seem to belong to fringe groups such as anti-vaxxers and far-right activists. These groups claim that the government is being one-sided and not open to other opinions, listening only to scientists that propose recommendations to the government.
As a result, rally organizers were reprimanded for failing to maintain social distance and wear masks, both gravely endangering the public. Mainstream officials criticized the protestors calling them “covidiots”. However, government leaders also acknowledged that there are constitutional issues that grant the people the right to protest, even in the most extreme situations.
In light of the government’s difficulties enforcing regulations on protestors, officials are considering limiting assemblies and gatherings to safeguard public health.
In the meantime, government officials continue to warn the public of the severity of what is already is being seen as a second wave of the coronavirus in Germany, urging people to refrain from additional mass protests that endanger thousands at a time.
Many politicians have used social media to take a stand and speak directly to the electorate. Promising politician Markus Söder recently tweeted, “We have to expect that corona will come back again with full force. I am very worried about the rising case numbers in Germany. Total alertness is needed, and that’s why now is not the time for easing restrictions or naive carelessness.”
Health Minister Jens Spahn tweeted, “Yes, demonstrations should be possible in Corona times. But not like this. Distancing, hygiene rules and facemasks are meant to protect us all.”
Both take a firm stance on government regulations but do not say anything directly against the protestors, unlike Saskia Esken, co-leader of the Social Democrats who wrote: “Thousands of Covidiots are celebrating themselves as ‘the second wave,’ without distancing, without masks. They are putting at risk not only our health, but our successes against the pandemic, to revive the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!”