Thousands of German civilians protested new government COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccine passports across 13 separate demonstrations in Berlin on Sunday. Local authorities had banned such weekend protests, but countless Germans refused to be forced into silence and proceeded to demonstrate anyways, causing German authorities to deploy approximately 2,000 police officers onto Berlin’s streets in riot gear.
Over a year into lockdowns, Germany requires that individuals show vaccine passports, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, in order to dine indoors or book a hotel room, among other activities.
According to video footage obtained on Twitter, Berlin police officers brawled with anti-lockdown civilians, who have grown tired of tyrannical rules, throughout Berlin’s streets.
— Martin Heller (@Ma_Heller) August 1, 2021
— Martin Heller (@Ma_Heller) August 1, 2021
Police told the press that they were “harassed and attacked,” while protesters allegedly ignored roadblocks. Video footage shows both law enforcement and civilians initiating confrontations, which many establishment media outlets omitted.
Police shove elderly people to your ground to protect their health. Welcome to Berlin. pic.twitter.com/Jlvj3DBIF7
— Ian Miles Cheong @ stillgray.substack.com (@stillgray) August 1, 2021
The EU would be condemning this as regime brutality if it was Russia but since it's Germany they will support it instead.pic.twitter.com/3aXM4QFRif
— Stan (@StanM3) August 1, 2021
Police detained protesters, but the crowds kept marching from Berlin’s Charlottenburg neighborhood toward Brandenburg Gate. Around 600 protesters were detained in total, while the police used irritants and batons to try to quell the crowds.
In one instance, a 49-year-old man collapsed and died, shortly after breaking through a street barrier. According to The Guardian, his cause of death is still unknown.
Is Germany Spying on Anti-Lockdown Groups?
Among other demonstrations, local authorities preemptively banned the Querdenker movement, the “most visible anti-lockdown movement in Germany,” according the Associated Press, from organizing a protest over the weekend. The movement has gathered thousands of Germans from across the political spectrum to challenge the government’s mandates. They view the government’s response to COVID as being fascistic and condemn vaccine mandates as a modern form of apartheid.
The German government sees the Querdenker movement as a threat to its power. Not only has Germany limited its citizens’ speech when it comes to protesting COVID-19 mandates, but the BBC recently reported that Germany’s domestic intelligence service is spying on members of the Querdenker movement, “amid concerns [that] they may be trying to delegitimize the state” and that their opinions could be dangerous to the status quo.
AP reports the movement includes “those opposing vaccinations, coronavirus deniers, conspiracy theorists and right-wing extremists.” However, the Querdenker movement’s founder, Michael Ballweg, vehemently rejects this portrayal of his group, arguing that “[he and his colleagues] are a peaceful movement and not a political party.”
Members of the German elite nonetheless find Ballweg’s movement threatening. Germany’s Parliament President Wolfgang Schäuble recently mouthed off about protesters, suggesting they should let the experts do all the thinking.
“If practically all experts worldwide say the coronavirus is dangerous and vaccination helps, then who actually has the right to say, ‘Actually, I’m smarter than that?’” Schäuble asked. “To me, that is an almost unbearable level of arrogance.”
Schäuble’s rhetoric does not appear to have put his people at ease, and more demonstrations in Germany are planned.
Global Opposition to COVID-19 Mandates
The German people aren’t the only ones to challenge their government’s COVID policies. For the third weekend in a row of protests, over 200,000 individuals gathered in France on Saturday to challenge their country’s vaccine mandates. The weekend prior, over 80,000 frustrated civilians similarly protested in Italy.
Such protests have persisted for weeks. As Federalist intern Shawn Fleetwood recently reported, civilians have challenged forced lockdowns and vaccine passports everywhere from Australia and France, to Italy and the United Kingdom.
Protesters in Sydney, Australia recently chanted “freedom,” while holding signs with quotations like “unmask the truth” and “no forced vaccines, no vax passports.” In France, tens of thousands of protesters gathered on July 24, with some of them shouting “Liberty! Liberty!” on Bastille plaza. Italian citizens recently gathered across Italy to protest the country’s vaccine passports, with many of them chanting “Freedom” and “Down with the dictatorship.”
One U.K. protester recently told Breitbart News that, “The vaccine passport system is the final straw, it’s the thin edge of the wedge. …Deaths have dropped, people are getting vaccinated, and in theory, that’s supposed to protect us, and here we still are.”
“I see no end to it, they are never going to let go of the powers that they have stolen, they are loving it too much,” she lamented.
The people of Slovakia, Ireland, and Greece, among others, have also pushed back strongly against vaccine passports.