The world sure will be a whole lot darker if Donald Trump isn’t in charge of America.
This coronavirus hoax is on the verge of spinning the whole world off the rails.
Germany’s demonstrations against anti-coronavirus public health measures have become part of the political furniture. But when they started in June, observers were shocked to see tens of thousands of people regularly gathering around the country as a movement known as “Querdenker” (“lateral thinkers”) built momentum.
The movement, which now has branches in more than 50 towns across the country, claims on its homepage that its main aim is to support the fundamental rights enshrined in the German Basic Law — Germany’s Constitution — particularly the freedoms of opinion, expression, and assembly.
But it has also become more aggressive.
“We’re seeing an ever more heated atmosphere at the corona protests,” Martin Pallgen, spokesman for Berlin’s Interior Ministry told DPA news agency. “There is especially a stronger, more verbally aggressive attitude among corona-deniers towards police officers, counter-demonstrators, and representatives of the media.”
Yes, they call them “corona-deniers.”
Holocaust “denial” was already illegal in Germany.
So it’s not much of a stretch to make being against the lockdowns a form of illegal speech.
On the streets, the Querdenker movement (and associated demos by smaller groups) has been marked by an unlikely alliance of far-right and far-left fringes, as well as a handful of conspiracy theorists. Often many of the protesters appeared wildly misinformed about the virus and therefore mistrustful of the government measures being implemented.
The movement’s commitment to Germany’s democratic order was also questioned in late August when a few demonstrators at one of the biggest Querdenker demos in Berlin — attended by an estimated 38,000 people — rushed the steps of Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag.
Despite some brief media hysteria following that incident, the movement has since devolved into regular smaller-scale demonstrations around the country — sometimes organized by allied groups, rather than the Querdenker themselves.
Another difference, of course, is that Germany is now just a few days into a new partial lockdown, with the closure of restaurants and hotels and much stricter rules on gatherings of people.
Opposition to such measures has become more widespread in the population since Germany’s first lockdown in March and April: Initial fear of being infected with COVID-19 has given way to stronger concerns about the economic consequences of an extended lockdown.
Protecting freedoms, pandemic or no
These new circumstances are likely to encourage the Querdenker movement, whose next major demo will come on Saturday, in the eastern city of Leipzig, where police expect 20,000 people to rally in more than a dozen demonstrations and counter-demonstrations around the city.
“We’re preparing for a very challenging weekend,” a Leipzig police spokesman told DW, before adding that reinforcements have already been called in from neighboring states and the federal police.
The new regulations allow demonstrations, but only under certain circumstances: All participants must wear masks, and the gatherings must stay in the same place — marches are banned.
The Leipzig police, meanwhile, have been careful to underline that freedom of assembly remains an important constitutional right, and they will only intervene as a last resort — in other words when public safety is threatened.
“A complete limitation of the freedom of assembly is a very sensitive issue in Germany, just based on history,” a police spokesman told DW, referring to the authoritarianism that took hold of the country under Nazi rule in the 1930s and in East Germany after the war.
“The decision to break up a demo is always taken by the municipal public order office, not the police,” he added. “It makes the decisions, and it assesses the concrete conditions on the ground. If all the conditions for breaking up a protest are met, then they can make that decision, and then the police have to act.”
So far, the police said, there have been no indications that violence could break out in Leipzig, though they are aware that some radical groups intend to show up.
They are worse than Hitler!
Hitler was actually good, but I mean – they’re worse than what they say Hitler was!
These governments, by their own laws, do not have the right to do what they are doing.
They do not have a right to take away everyone’s freedoms this aggressively.
They are making all of this up as they go.
The people need to organize in the name of freedom and start figuring out ways to push back.