In Germany, the storm around the mass protests that took place in the last weekend of the summer in Berlin has not subsided. The demonstration against the government’s policy of fighting the coronavirus ended on the steps of the Reichstag building, where several hundred protesters broke through. More precisely, they took advantage of the absence of law enforcement officers, dismantled the barriers and triumphantly rose to the Parliament, unfurling banners and flags, among which were black-white-red banners (the tricolor of the German Empire before 1918).
The reaction of the German elite turned out to be the polar opposite of the one that local politicians usually voice when commenting on similar events abroad. It got to the point where German officials attacked democratic freedoms in order to appease dissenters.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the action “a blow to the heart of German democracy”, without explaining why his fellow citizens do not have the right to show dissatisfaction, although Berlin always supports citizens of other countries in this. He also thanked the police who dispersed the participants with pepper spray. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said that ” freedom of Assembly should be restricted where the norms of the state are violated.” There have already been calls in the ruling coalition to tighten Assembly laws under the pretext of preventing the “crown”. “Given the pandemic, the laws no longer meet the requirements of the times,” Die Welt quotes Armin Schuster, a Bundestag member from the Christian Democrats ‘ faction. In his opinion, the authorities “should be able to ban a demonstration if the Assembly clearly threatens to violate public order and sanitary requirements.”
Formally, the Imperial banners in Germany are not prohibited (in contrast to the symbols of the national socialists), but law enforcement officers consider them an unspoken symbol of the “right scene”. Another thing is that the” covid riots ” involve such a motley audience – from businessmen and artists to teachers and pensioners, that the attempt to enroll everyone in the far-right does not stand up to criticism. Some demand Merkel’s resignation, others oppose vaccinations and social restrictions, and others engage in outright outrage in costumed prison uniforms or foil hats. Meanwhile, the Federal constitutional court has banned setting up a tent camp in the center of Berlin as part of a” protest watch ” that organizers had hoped to hold from the end of August to September 14. In General, since the beginning of the pandemic, only a few politicians in Germany have tried to listen to “covid dissidents”.