Germany: thousands of people expected for anti-mask rallies

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Thousands of opponents to wearing masks and restrictive measures against the pandemic are expected in Constance, in southwestern Germany, for a weekend of protests under high police protection in the face of fears of overflows.

Highly anticipated this Saturday: a huge human chain must be organized on the shores of Lake Constance at the initiative of “Freethinkers”, a motley gathering of opponents of measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic who have already held two demonstrations with tens of thousands of people in Berlin during the summer.

Their goal is to bring together enough people to reach Austria and Switzerland, with the shores of Lake Constance located in three countries.

Saturday, 17 parades or rallies are expected in Constance. On Sunday, 12 gatherings are also announced in the city center, even if, as the City pointed out, a majority of them do not intervene on the initiative of anti-masks, but rather intend to express their solidarity in these time of global pandemic.

The police are expecting a total of some 30,000 people and have planned “a significant deployment” of the police because of the risk of overflows.

These parades come at the height of an upsurge in infections in Germany, a country that has been rather spared by the new coronavirus so far.

On Saturday, the number of new infections in 24 hours was above the 2,500 mark, the April level.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who says she is very concerned about this increase, announced on Tuesday new restrictions, including on private parties, with fines for offenders who do not respect certain rules.

The Municipality of Constance banned protesters from waving distinctive signs of the Nazi regime or German Reich flags in remembrance of the empire that vanished after World War I, as they did in Berlin.

During this last rally at the end of August, several hundred demonstrators had forced security barriers to climb the steps of the Reichstag, seat of the Chamber of Deputies (Bundestag), marking a new stage in the radicalization of the movement.

These demonstrations bring together a motley crowd made up of anti-vaccine activists, conspirators, citizens genuinely concerned about the restrictions linked to COVID-19, but also, and increasingly according to the authorities, far-right supporters.

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