Germany recorded a spike in COVID-19 cases last week, promoting Berlin and Frankfurt's authorities to issue new restrictions to contain the virus spread. The introduction of the restrictions angered residents, as thousands of them were seen protesting across central Berlin Saturday.
Last week, the number of new coronavirus infections had significantly increased, as new measures were announced by the government on Tuesday to limit gatherings and close bars and restaurants early.
"This is not the time to party," Berlin's Mayor Michael Muller said on Saturday. "We can and we want to prevent another more severe confinement."
Several thousand anti-lockdown protesters were seen marching on Saturday. Many said the emergence of new restrictions violated their "human rights."
"We are a colorful mix of… people from various ethnic and income level groups, who left all their political affiliations behind and who disagree with the politicization of the coronavirus [pandemic] resulting in restriction of our human rights," the organizers of "Silent March" said.
"A loose column of demonstrators stretched along several major streets of the German capital as they slowly walked from Konrad Adenauer Square in the western part of the city to the Victory Column in the central Tiergarten Park and near the iconic Brandenburg Gate," RT News said.
Die Polizei bestätigt gegenüber dem @Tagesspiegel „mehrere tausend Teilnehmer“ beim „Schweigemarsch“. Diese Einschätzung teile ich. Mehr Menschen als ich erwartet habe ziehen gerade durch den Tiergarten. Die ersten sind am Endpunkt an der Siegessäule angelangt. #b1010 pic.twitter.com/5jsYR2Hdgh— julius geiler (@glr_berlin) October 10, 2020
Protesters said the pandemic warrants a broader public discussion and end to the "permanent fear campaigns" they say the government has waged on citizens.
Organizers initially estimated 20,000 would attend Saturday's march, though local police said "several thousand" turned out.
RT notes, the march was mostly "peaceful" and there were "no reports of incidents during the demonstration.
From today’s protest in Berlin... with social distancing and masks a silent demo.. pic.twitter.com/z2RbdN9VJC— Anna Brees (@BreesAnna) October 10, 2020
As Germany becomes a coronavirus hotspot, many protesters were seen socially distancing while marching down the street. The turnout was much smaller to the tens of thousands seen in August across the German capital city.
COVID-19 cases in Germany rose last week and forced the government to impose new restrictions. The country recorded 4,721 new cases on Saturday, the third day of +4,000 cases in a row.
Cases are also jumping in France, Spain, and the UK, along with new cases rising in at least eight US states.