Thousands of demonstrators on Wednesday protested against the German government's attempt to enact additional coronavirus restrictions. German police were forced to unleash water cannons and pepper spray to disperse angry crowds in Berlin's government district, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).
Around 190 protesters were arrested, and nine police officers were injured after clashes in central Berlin. Police said large crowds ignored repeated calls to wear face masks and practice safe social distancing - though none of the requests were followed by protesters.
"Police calling on demonstrators to leave. Lots of booing. Demonstrators want to access cordoned-off area around parliament where new additions to infection law are being debated [at the moment,]," DW's Nina Haase said.
Police calling on demonstrators to leave. Lots of booing. Demonstrators want to access cordoned-off area around parliament where new additions to infection law are being debated atm. #1811 pic.twitter.com/k3jZvaiolL— Nina Haase-Trobridge 🇪🇺 (@NinaHaase) November 18, 2020
In a series of tweets, Haase described the chaotic scene outside the Brandenburg Gate. She said demonstrators chanted, "we are the people," adding that many were singing the national anthem as they held the line.
Bizarre scenes: “We are the people” shout demonstrators. Police repeat calls to leave the area. Demonstrators not budging. Singing national anthem. But placards also call for scientists to be thrown into prison. Police have warned to make use of water cannons. pic.twitter.com/9KHKWgjh6i— Nina Haase-Trobridge 🇪🇺 (@NinaHaase) November 18, 2020
Police were seen moving in on demonstrators, using large vehicles outfitted with water cannons. She said, "police called on demonstrators to stop attacking police officers."
Police moving into crowd in front of Brandenburg gate. Police call on demonstrators to stop attacking police officers pic.twitter.com/wasPK6otBe— Nina Haase-Trobridge 🇪🇺 (@NinaHaase) November 18, 2020
As water cannons soaked demonstrators outside the Brandenburg Gate, riot police also moved in protesters, pushing them back away from government buildings. Twitter handle "SecondOpinion" shows the angry mob from an elevated view.
Belarus? Hongkong?— SecondOpinion (@DaFeid) November 18, 2020
No, it's Berlin today.
Protests against the new
German Infection Protection Act pic.twitter.com/gLbcD4hQ43
Absolute chaos on the ground.
Nicht #Minsk nicht #HongKong das geschieht HEUTE in #berlin #b1811. #polizeistaat #Gewalt gegen friedliche #Demonstranten #pfefferspray #diktatur #coronavirus #CoronaDiktatur pic.twitter.com/Y8G4IzllRc— OCN (@OktayTR57) November 18, 2020
Dispersión de la manifestación en #Berlín. 18/11/2020#Alemania El tiránico régimen de #Merkel, que se aferraba a la silla de la Canciller con dedos azules, dispersó la manifestación de destacadas personalidades. manifestantes contra las restricciones del #coronavirus en Berlín pic.twitter.com/wOGivuhdNX— DerrotarSistema (@DerrotarSistema) November 18, 2020
Hier die Situation zwischen Brandenburger Tor und Bundestag kurz nach dem ersten Einsatz des Wasserwerfers:— Raphael Knipping (@RaphaelKnipping) November 18, 2020
Viel Pfefferspray und mehrere Festnahmen. Polizeibeamte werden mit "Schuldig"-Schildern und einem Regenschirm angegriffen. #b1811 #Berlin pic.twitter.com/6cNAisuk2v
The protest was sparked by Germany's lower and upper houses that passed changes to the country's existing infection protection law. The changes allow government officials to impose new social distancing restrictions rules on mask-wearing, and regulations of when businesses can open and close.
In recent weeks, Germany has seen a sharp uptick in new infections. About 17,600 new coronavirus cases were reported in Germany on Wednesday, bringing total infections to 833,307.
The coronavirus pandemic is turning out to be an era of mass social unrest worldwide. As the second virus wave ravages many western countries, people will rise up against these draconian measures.
Is the US next to see a wave of social unrest as new restrictions are being reimposed?