Anti-Corona protests escalate, riots in several German cities

Protests against the Corona policy in Germany are becoming more violent. Anti-vaccination activists and right-wing extremists are merging into a homogeneous mass.

 Protest against government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Berlin (photo credit: REUTERS)
Protest against government measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Berlin
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Thousands of people demonstrated against the current Corona measures in several German cities over the weekend and on Monday. In some cases, there were violent incidents, for example in Thuringia and Saxony.

In Bennewitz, near Leipzig, Corona demonstrators "behaved extremely uncooperatively," a police spokesman said. It was only possible to get the situation under control through a "robust approach". Two police officers were slightly injured. 

In Greiz, Thuringia, several hundred demonstrators had gathered in several groups. When officers stopped a procession, there were "breakthrough attempts," the police said. Police officers had used pepper spray, 14 officers were injured.

There were also protests in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In Stuttgart, a large number of people violated requirements during four protests against the Corona measures on Saturday. As the police announced on Sunday, several hundred cross-thinkers came together in the city to form a human chain.

The protests are mainly directed against a possible vaccination obligation in Germany, but in many places also complained about a division of society by the restrictions.

 Demonstrators attend a protest against government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Berlin, Germany, December 11, 2021 (credit: REUTERS) Demonstrators attend a protest against government measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Berlin, Germany, December 11, 2021 (credit: REUTERS)

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser lamented an increasing propensity to violence and radicalization at demonstrations against the Corona measures. "The propensity to violence is increasing," Faeser stated on her Twitter account:

"Many lateral thinkers are becoming more radical. Threats and intimidation are completely unacceptable! We must step up efforts for social cohesion and overcome the attempts at division by anti-democratic forces." 

At the same time, she warned that right-wing extremists and so-called Reichsbürger (citizens of the Reich) are trying to use the protests in order to spread their own propaganda.

"Reichsbürger" are groups and individuals who reject the existence of the Federal Republic of Germany and its legal system for a variety of motives and with different justifications - including invoking the historical German Reich.

At the same time, Germany's new Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced a zero-tolerance policy against aggressive demonstrators in an interview. "We must counter threats with all severity," the head of government told Bild. "I want to keep the country together. And so I am also the chancellor of the unvaccinated."