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Berlin protesters against draconian Covid measures face water cannons

Numerous demonstrators gathered in Berlin on Wednesday to protest against the planned amendment to the Infection Protection Act. After the Federal Ministry of the Interior banned several rallies in front of the Reichstag building on Tuesday, the demonstrators gathered on Pariser Platz and around the Brandenburg Gate.

Published: November 19, 2020, 11:34 am

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    Berlin

    The first arrests were made because individuals refused to follow the Corona rules, including wearing facial masks. A video from the protest showed how the AfD member of the Bundestag Karsten Hilse is thrown onto the ground by police officers and dragged away with his arms tied behind his back. Hilse himself worked as a police officer before entering the Bundestag.

    The police were on duty with more than 2 000 officers in the government district. The demonstrators shouted, among other things, “Angela, the people are here!” And sang the national anthem. Around noon, the police broke up a meeting in front of the Brandenburg Gate with loudspeaker announcements.

    The reason they gave was that the demonstrators had not complied with the requirements such as maintaining minimum distances and wearing facial masks. The protesters were warned to move away in order to avoid a harsh police response. In addition, the emergency services deployed water cannons.

    The Federal Ministry of the Interior had justified the ban on a total of twelve rallies and demonstrations because it would have an “impact on the work of Parliament”. The decision was made in agreement with Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble and the Bundesrat.

    The State Criminal Police Office (LKA) Berlin had previously warned of possible attacks on the Bundestag on the occasion of the planned protests against the Infection Protection Act. The Bundestag police had also informed the MPs of this. The LKA is assuming “number of participants in the upper four-digit range, maximum in the lower five-digit range”.

    On Thursday afternoon, the German Bundestag finally voted by a majority for the so-called third civil protection law, against which representatives of the AfD and FDP had argued. When MPs of the AfD held up posters in protest against the law, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble threatened them with a call to order. The Federal Council also subsequently approved the amendment to the Infection Protection Act.

    Some 415 MPs voted in support of the reform of the law and 236 against it.

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