Thousands of protesters, including a number of far-right groups, have gathered in Berlin on Wednesday, November 18, to denounce German Chancellor Angela Merkel's plan to give the government powers to enforce coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in efforts to curb the spread of the disease. Participants have gathered around the Brandenburg Gate and Strasse des 17 Juni. The demonstration comes as the lower and upper house of parliament are due to pass laws later on Wednesday in reference to the Infection Protection Act, which would allow the government to impose restrictions with greater legal force. These restrictions include measures on social contact, drinking alcohol in public, rules on mask-wearing, the closure of shops, and suspending sports events. Media sources indicate that many protesters were not wearing face masks nor socially distancing. Authorities have prohibited protests outside the Reichstag and Bundesrat buildings; police officers have been deployed in the area.
Reports indicate that counter-demonstrations by anti-fascists and anti-racism groups have been organized in the same area.
Further associated demonstrations are possible in Berlin. A heightened security presence is to be expected in the vicinity of demonstrations. Localized disruptions are also likely and clashes between security forces and protesters, and the rival protesting groups, cannot be ruled out.
Those in Berlin are advised to monitor developments, avoid all associated demonstrations, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer