Conflicts on European soil; New wave - 600 arrested VIDEO / PHOTO

Big protests against government pandemic measures were held in France and Germany.

Source: DW
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EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

In France, there were protests in many cities, in Germany, the protest was concentrated in Berlin.

Demonstrations were held in Berlin organized by the German Querdenker COVID protest movement (a German word for non-linear, creative, "parallel" or "lateral" thinking).

The city authorities had banned these demonstrations, but despite that, about 5.000 people gathered on the streets of Berlin - exactly on the anniversary of the big demonstrations against the government's measures from 2020.

The Querdenker movement demands that the government unconditionally respect the German Basic Law and claims that the restriction of fundamental rights within the measures against the coronavirus is illegal.

The German government claims that the Kverdenker movement does not care about argumentative criticism of pandemic measures, but that it wants to destabilize the state.

"Good" and "bad" protesters?

Tanjug/Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP
Tanjug/Fabian Sommer/dpa via AP

A large number of police officers were on the streets in Berlin, partly with heavy equipment for breaking up demonstrations.

Protesters announced that they would adhere to hygienic measures such as keeping a distance and putting on masks in case the minimum distance cannot be maintained.

EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN
EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

One of the reasons for the protesters' anger was the ban on these demonstrations after the Pride Parade - CSD - was held in the capital on July 24, with identical hygienic measures, which in some situations could not be implemented 100%.

Opponents of the government's pandemic measures believe that the government in Germany, with the support of the big media, distinguishes between "good" and "bad", that is, desirable and undesirable demonstrations, and thus measures the situation with different standards.

About 600 arrests

EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN
EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN

A large number of individual clashes between police and demonstrators were recorded at yesterday's demonstrations.

Protesters were deployed to many city checkpoints, disrupting traffic.

Such a decentralized protest was very difficult to control.

EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Police used methods of intimidation, with helicopters constantly overflying; Armored vehicles and tanks with water cannons took to the streets in the early afternoon, but were not used until the end of the day.

The intimidation was also reflected in the individual falling to the ground and the attitude of certain demonstrators. Among the protesters, there were many who did not spare insults at the expense of the police, which created additional tension.

The balance at the end of the day was: about 600 arrests, an unknown number of injured police officers.

France: "Yellow vests" in action again

EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

Over the weekend, the "Yellow Vests" returned to the streets of France. At mass protests against mandatory vaccination for certain occupations, in more than 150 cities across the country, many protesters wore such vests.

They thus reminded of the wave of protests that began in November 2018 and brought President Emmanuel Macron to a severe internal political crisis.

There were about 300.000 protesters on the streets then - and this weekend, according to official figures, there were more than 200.000 people. That is a significant increase compared to the past two weekends, when - before the decision of the parliament - there were a little more than 100.000 people on the streets.

The test against the latest measures comes from all parts of society.

The call of freedom

EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON
EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

"Liberté" is a word that many dissidents wrote on their posters because they see an attack on freedom in government measures. Because, in France, mandatory vaccination has been introduced for health workers and caregivers, as well as firefighters, and the health passport must be shown, among other things, in restaurants and trains: the provisions on the coronavirus are very stricter.

The majority of the population is in favor of the government's course, but the protests are also being approved: according to a representative poll by the ifop institute, 35% of the respondents support the protesters or have sympathy for them.

The government relies on the Constitutional Court

So far, there is no indication that the French government could change course. Instead, its representatives demand moderation from the demonstrators. Health Minister Olivier Veran posted a video on Twitter over the weekend of aggressive protesters in Montpellier attacking a mobile testing center. There were individual conflicts in other cities as well.

The law for which the protest is being passed has been passed and should enter into force on August 9. On Thursday (August 5), it should cross the last obstacle - the control of the Constitutional Court.

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