Thousands of Germans protested in the city of Konstanz against restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus, DW reported Sunday. The demonstration met with with counter-protests. Police reportedly fired tear gas on at least one occasion to keep the groups apart.
Sunday was the second day of demonstrations in the city. Up to 11,000 people turned out the day before to object to the restrictions. Police said a dozen rallies took place on Sunday, some 2,000 people participating when organizers reportedly had hoped for a turn-out of more than 100,000.
The Lateral Thinking movement organized the weekend events as well as two anti-restriction protests in Berlin. DW reporting claimed right-wing extremist symbols were visible among the crowds in Berlin and Konstanz whereas police said none were evident. Local authorities have banned displays of Germany’s imperial Reichskriegflagge as symbols used by neo-Nazis and far-right groups. The movement has been organizing protests against the government’s restrictions for months in hopes of sending a pan-European message of opposition to the rrestrictions.
Pro-restriction supporters turned out to decry the anti-regulatory views of the right-wing opponents, according to police, Reuters reported on Sunday. Protests have been attracting diverse crowds comprising civil rights advocates and those opposing vaccinations along with far-right groups, including supporters of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
Compared to other EU member states, Germany had managed to keep infections and deaths relatively low during the first wave in the spring. Just as elsewhere in Europe, however, infection rates have started to rise again in Germany. As a result, the authorities have been considering imposing further restrictions that would limit public life as well as slow down the rate of economic recovery from the worst recession on record experienced in the first half of 2020.