Thousands of people gathered on the Theresienwiese in Munich on Saturday to demonstrate against the Corona measures. The police estimate that up to 10,000 people attended. However, many apparently did not adhere to the rules – wearing a mask and keeping your distance.
According to the police, several people were arrested at the demonstration on Sunday morning. “The number of arrests was in the lower double-digit range,” said a spokesman for the police headquarters. At first, the police could not say whether they were participants in the rally on Theresienwiese or the previous demonstration – or counter-demonstrators.
The police also recorded more than 120 reports. In around 100 cases, it was about violations of the corona measures because people did not keep their distance or refused to cover their mouth and nose. More than 20 other people were reported for resisting law enforcement officers, libel, assault and violations of the assembly law. “In most cases, the people concerned could be dismissed after processing the advertisement,” said the police.
This is how the demo went on Saturday
Shortly after the rally began on Saturday, the police asked people to wear mouth and nose protection because otherwise the demo would have to be broken up. The speeches on the stage had to pause temporarily until the crowd was better distributed on the Theresienwiese.
While the rally continued, policemen ran through the crowd asking people to wear masks. “We will speak to these people and, depending on the circumstances, they will be reported for an administrative offense,” said the police on Twitter. Numerous demonstrators had certificates with them that were supposed to prove that they could not cover their mouth and nose for health reasons. The police went through the ranks to check these alleged documents – and to report falsified ones as well as violations of the mask requirement.
There was no restriction on the number of participants at Theresienwiese – this had previously been lifted by a court. Nevertheless, the demonstrators had to adhere to the infection control measures.
The protest march from Odeonsplatz through Munich city center was broken up in the early afternoon. Significantly more people took part than were allowed. “At the peak there were 3,000 participants,” said a spokesman for the police – 500 were approved. Because the number had been exceeded so significantly and because about two thirds of the participants had not worn a mask, the police had stopped the train. Shortly thereafter, the organizers of the initiative “lateral thinking 089” broke off the train and asked the participants to come together for the main rally on Theresienwiese. All available police forces have also been moved there, a spokesman said.
What the protesters are about
As with previous rallies, very different people came together. Some saw their basic rights restricted by the Corona measures – even if most of the regulations have since been severely reduced. Others worried about the influence of China, the USA (in the person of Bill Gates) or the impact of the 5G network. Still others feared possible “compulsory vaccinations”. On the Theresienwiese stage, speakers called, among other things, for the immunity of Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) to be lifted. In addition, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) must be observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Ex-TV priest Jürgen Fliege also appeared as a speaker.
The fear that many right-wing extremists and citizens of the Reich might gather at the demonstration in Munich – similar to what happened about two weeks ago in Berlin – does not seem to have come true.
Hundreds of opponents demonstrate peacefully
The protests were registered by the initiative “lateral thinking 089”, which rejects measures to combat the coronavirus. An alliance against this stance has been organized in Munich, which also took to the streets on Saturday afternoon. “Solidarity instead of right-wing conspiracy mania” was the title of the event on Goetheplatz. It was supported by 48 mainly left-wing organizations and parties.
1000 people were registered, said a spokeswoman, about 900 came according to the police. Her speeches were directed against right-wing ideology, anti-Semitism and racism and recall the fate of refugees, including a minute’s silence for the deceased.
1500 police officers on duty
The police were out on this Saturday with around 1,500 officers in downtown Munich to ensure that all requirements were met. This included wearing a mask, which many Corona critics reject. A police spokesman said that they would “react accordingly”.
After the experiences in Berlin, where hundreds of right-wing demonstrators overcame the barriers to the Reichstag and then waved Reich flags on the stairs in front of the parliament, the Munich police decided to pay special attention to historically relevant and symbolic places and buildings. “Property protection plays an important role,” announced the spokesman, citing the state parliament as an example.
Legal struggle for the demo conditions
How and where the “lateral thinkers” are allowed to demonstrate in Munich, the Bavarian Administrative Court (VGH) only determined in a resolution on Saturday night. A demonstration march with up to 500 participants from Odeonsplatz to Theresienwiese was allowed. The judges also determined that the subsequent meeting must take place there. The limit of 1000 visitors imposed by the city has been lifted. According to a VGH spokeswoman, there is no fixed upper limit for the number of participants, not even the 5000 originally registered. From the court’s point of view, the decisive factor is “that the hygiene regulations are (can) be observed.”
The start of the demonstration at 1 p.m. was preceded by a legal struggle for the two registered demonstrations of “lateral thinking”. The district administration department (KVR) had banned the protest march through the city center and relocated the subsequent rally from Odeonsplatz to Theresienwiese. The number of participants was restricted. The organizers went to the administrative court to overturn these conditions. However, this declared the city’s action to be legal. In the second instance, in response to a further complaint from the organizers, the Bavarian Administrative Court partially repealed and significantly relaxed these requirements.