German COVID-19 protesters fail to storm Reichstag | Daily News


 

German COVID-19 protesters fail to storm Reichstag

Police officers take a demonstrator from the square 'Platz der Republik' in front of the Reichstag building during a demonstration against the coronavirus measures in Berlin, Germany.
Police officers take a demonstrator from the square 'Platz der Republik' in front of the Reichstag building during a demonstration against the coronavirus measures in Berlin, Germany.

GERMANY: German leaders Sunday condemned the "unacceptable" attempt by protesters to storm the Reichstag parliament building during a mass rally against coronavirus restrictions.

Some of the protesters carried the flag of the former German Reich which was used until the end of the First World War.

"Flags from the Reich and far-right profanity in front of the German Parliament are an unacceptable attack on the heart of our democracy," President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Instagram. "We will never accept this."

Police said some 38,000 people, double the number expected, had gathered in Berlin to protest restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, such as the wearing of masks and social distancing.

Around 2,000 protesters gathered again not far from the Reichstag on Sunday although police said they were quickly dispersed after police carried out "several identity checks".

Several hundred broke through barriers and a police cordon to climb the steps leading to the entrance to the Reichstag.

They were narrowly prevented from entering the building by police, who used pepper spray and arrested several people.

Police initially appeared overwhelmed, as only a handful of officers were there to block the crowd.

The Reichstag, where German deputies meet, has a powerful symbolic role in the country.

The building, with its famous dome, was burnt down by the Nazis in 1933 in an act aimed at destroying what remained of German democracy between the two world wars.

At a press conference on Friday, German Chancellor Merkel said confronting the virus will become more challenging in the coming autumn and winter months.

Merkel and the leaders of Germany's 16 federal states on Thursday introduced tougher coronavirus restrictions to curb the pandemic, including a minimum 50 euro ($59) fine for people caught not wearing face masks where one is compulsory. - AFP


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