Thousands turn out for anti-lockdown protest in Germany
In 'day of freedom,' huge throngs go maskless, declare 'end of the pandemic.'
Thousands of protesters turned out in Berlin, Germany on Saturday to protest the country's coronavirus lockdown policies, demanding an end to government restrictions and declaring it a "day of freedom" after several months of heavy-handed mitigation efforts throughout the country.
Videos of chanting, cheering protesters—thousands of whom were packed close together without masks—circulated on social media on Saturday.
Local and central governments throughout Germany over the past several months imposed numerous restrictions and mandates upon German citizens, including social distancing rules and masking requirements. Many of those restrictions have been gradually lifted as coronavirus numbers remained relatively low there, but a recent spike in recorded infections in the country has led authorities to consider additional lockdown measures.
Slogans seen at the Berlin protest included "Natural defense instead of vaccination" and "We are being forced to wear a muzzle."
Counterprotesters reportedly showed up to demonstrate against the larger protest at one point; Deutsche Welle reporter Leonie von Hammerstein reported that the counter-activists were "wearing face masks, [and] keeping the [correct] social distance" during their demonstration.