Thousands take to the streets in Berlin in protest against coronavirus restrictions

1 August 2020, 20:05

Police estimated around 17,000 people turned out
Police estimated around 17,000 people turned out. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Around 17,000 people have taken to the streets of Berlin to protest against coronavirus restrictions in Germany.

The demonstration - titled The End Of The Pandemic - Freedom Day - comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany.

The huge crowd, many of which were not wearing face masks, ignored social distancing orders to march together from the Brandenburg Gate ahead of a rally on a wide boulevard that runs through the city's Tiergarten park.

Protesters held up homemade placards featuring slogans that included "Corona, false alarm", "We are being forced to wear a muzzle" and "Natural defence instead of vaccination".

Some chanted: "We're here and we're loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom."

Demonstrations against restrictions this year have drawn a variety of people, including some conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.

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Police speak with protesters during today's demonstration
Police speak with protesters during today's demonstration. Picture: PA
The demonstration - titled The End Of The Pandemic - Freedom Day - comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany
The demonstration - titled The End Of The Pandemic - Freedom Day - comes amid increasing concern about an upturn in infections in Germany. Picture: PA

People came from various parts of Germany for Saturday's protest.

Germany's management of the pandemic has widely been viewed as relatively successful, with around 210,000 confirmed cases and just over 9,100 deaths.

The country has been easing lockdown measures since late April but social-distancing rules remain in place, as does a requirement to wear masks in public transport and shops.

Infection figures have crept up over the past few weeks and officials have warned against complacency.

Germany's national disease control centre registered 955 new cases on Friday, a high figure by recent standards.