Crowds protest COVID-19 restrictions in Germany

August 03, 2021
Demonstrators walk along Bismarckstrasse in Berlin on Sunday.
Demonstrators walk along Bismarckstrasse in Berlin on Sunday.
A demonstrator walks through Berlin-Charlottenburg with a plastic bucket placed on his head reading 'Absolutely safe against the stupidity virus' in Berlin on Sunday.
A demonstrator walks through Berlin-Charlottenburg with a plastic bucket placed on his head reading 'Absolutely safe against the stupidity virus' in Berlin on Sunday.
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BERLIN (AP)

Hundreds of people turned out in Berlin on Sunday to protest the German government's anti-coronavirus measures, despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to arrests and clashes with police.

Local authorities banned several different protests this weekend, including one from the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, which expected 22,500 attendees. But protesters defied the ban, gathering on Sunday around the city.

Berlin's police department, which deployed more than 2,000 officers, said that as crowds grew, officers who sought to redirect protesters or disband larger groups were "harassed and attacked".

"They tried to break through the police cordon and pull out our colleagues," it said, adding that police had to use irritants and batons.

Germany eased many coronavirus restrictions in May, allowing restaurants and bars to reopen. Still, many activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants or staying in a hotel, require proof that an individual is either fully vaccinated, has recovered from the virus, or can show proof of a recent negative coronavirus test.

Sunday's protest follows other demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions around Europe. Thousands have turned out for the past three weekends in France to protest a vaccine health pass that people will need to enter stadiums or restaurants, at times clashing with French police. Another 80,000 people also protested in cities across Italy last weekend.

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