A crowd gathered at the Brandenburg Gate, considering that the measures imposed by Angela Merkel’s government “violate the Constitution”,
The German police dispersed with fire hydrants and concretized 350 protester arrests who protested in Berlin against coronavirus restrictions, after the crowd rejected orders to wear face masks and maintain social distance.
As water cannons soaked protesters at the Brandenburg Gate, riot police charged into the crowd and detained several people, while other protesters threw firecrackers and flares at them.
The protesters, who numbered more than 5,000, carried placards showing German politicians, including the head of government, Chancellor Angela Merkel, dressed as prisoners and with a “guilty” sign.
The protests came as the German Parliament opened a debate on a law that will give the Government legal tools to adopt social distancing measures, require the use of masks and close shops to stop the virus.
Although the majority of Germans support these restrictions, according to polls, a very loud minority held several protests in different parts of the country considering that the measures violate the Constitution.
The law is expected to pass both houses of Parliament and be promptly enacted by the President of Germany.
Health Minister Jens Spahn defended the measures before members of the Chamber of Deputies, to whom he said that the authorities “strive every day to achieve a balance” between the restrictions and the safeguarding of democratic freedoms.
However, he insisted that Germany is on the right track, and that it is better off than many of its neighbors in Europe, the German news agency DPA reported.
“Where else would you rather be than in Germany?” Spahn asked lawmakers from the far-right Alternative for Germany party, who are critical of the measures.
Germany, praised for its handling of the pandemic, recently began to record a sharp increase in new infections, and is currently in the middle of his second partial lockdown to try to contain the virus.
Health authorities reported today 17,561 new cases in 24 hours, up to a total of 833,307 since the start of the pandemic.
At least 13,119 people lost their lives, 305 more than Tuesday, authorities added.