Opponents of the pandemic policy demonstrate in Berlin, many ignore the corona rules. The police broke up the demonstration, but many do not want to leave.
BERLIN taz | The police in Berlin have been using water cannons against corona deniers who are demonstrating in the Bundestag against the passage of the Infection Protection Act since noon. At a police cordon between the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, thousands of demonstrators had huddled in front of the police and the pressure on the chain kept increasing. In order to prevent a storm on the Reichstag, the demonstrators should now be pushed back.
Shortly before 12 noon, the police had dissolved the event, which had previously been allowed as an emergency meeting, due to violations of the Corona regulation, all requests to maintain distances and wear masks had been ignored. Again and again there had been clashes at the cordon, and police officers used pepper spray to hold back the crowd. With the use of the water cannon, however, more and more violent protesters gathered and pelted the emergency services with bottles and firecrackers, among other things.
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After more than an hour, the police only managed to push the crowd back about 100 meters to the Platz des March 18th in front of the Brandenburg Gate. At the same time, other water cannons were also in use on the Strasse des 17. Juni from the early afternoon. More than 100 people were arrested by 3 p.m. According to the police, attempts were also made to set fire to an emergency vehicle using a grill lighter.
In the afternoon, more and more people, many completely soaked, move from the Brandenburg Gate in the direction of Potsdamer Platz and the Federal Council. There, the country representatives should also pass the law. The police have completely cordoned off Leipziger Strasse in front of the building. Nevertheless, protests are made within sight and hearing distance: from a shopping center opposite.
Extreme rights among the protesters
The area around the Reichstag had been cordoned off extensively since the morning hours, and events in the exclusion zone had been prohibited. From the early morning, demonstrators had gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Your battle cry of the day: “Peace, freedom, no dictatorship”. Initially a few hundred people, including anti-vaccination opponents, esotericists, angry citizens and neo-Nazis, had grown to at least 10,000 by noon. The Straße des 17. Juni was densely packed between the Brandenburg Gate and Yitzhak-Rabin-Straße.
On the street were numerous prominent representatives of the extreme right and the AfD, including the Holocaust denier and Youtuber Nikolai Nerling, who was taken away by police that morning, the right-wing journalist Jürgen Elsässer or Christoph Berndt, the new AfD parliamentary group leader from Brandenburg, and his predecessor Andreas Kalbitz.
The AfD member of the Bundestag Karsten Hilse was taken into custody by the police. He is said to have previously refused to put on a mouth and nose mask and resisted, according to the police.
Before the escalation began, a delegation made up of AfD members and employees distributed flyers among the demonstrators and promised to vote against the law. In parliament, AfD members protested with posters showing a basic law that was crossed out with a kind of mourning ribbon. People who had gained access to the building through the party are also said to have harassed members of several parliamentary groups and tried to break into offices.