Coronavirus: Thousands protest in Germany against restrictions

Reuters  FABRIZIO BENSCH Demonstration against the government's restrictions amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Berlin

Protesters marched from the landmark Brandenburg Gate through central Berlin before holding a rally on a wide boulevard.

Many protesters also yelled at people, who were watching the demonstration, calling on them to take off their face and nose protection.

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".

Police say they're laying a criminal complaint against rally organisers for not enforcing hygiene rules.

Protesters danced and sang "We are free people!" to the tune of rock band Queen's "We Will Rock You".

Residents in a coronavirus risk area are required to prove they have tested negative for the infection within the previous 48 hours before they are allowed to travel elsewhere in Germany.

Thousands of Germans gathered today (Saturday) in Berlin to protest against face masks and vaccines, celebrating a "day of freedom" from months of the virus' curbs.

A handful of people held a counter demonstration.

German Health Minister Jens Spahn criticized on Twitter people attending the protest for failing to follow health regulations, while underlining their right to protest. Police declared that event over as organisers again failed to get demonstrators to wear masks or keep their distance.

Unlike the US, Brazil and Britain, Germany's government has been praised for its management of the pandemic.

On Friday it recorded more than 900 new cases and seven deaths.

Despite the rising number of confirmed infection cases, about 17,000 people turned up here on Saturday rallying against social distancing rules meant to curb the coronavirus pandemic, which was later dispersed by the police.

The German government has been easing closure measures since the end of April, but social distancing rules remain, as does the requirement to wear masks on public transport and in stores.

Amid concerns about residents bringing home infections from summer trips overseas, officials introduced free tests for people entering the country.

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

"Thousands of #covidiots are being celebrated in Berlin as "the second wave", without distancing themselves, without masks", Saskia Esken, co-leader of the Social Democrats, the minor party in Germany's ruling coalition, tweeted.

"They not only endanger our health, they endanger our successes against the pandemic and for the revitalization of the economy, education and society".

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