Thousands in Germany protest restrictions on unvaccinated

Thousands of protesters gathered in Berlin on Saturday to demonstrate against government leaders considering imposing additional coronavirus restrictions on unvaccinated individuals in the country. 

The Associated Press reported that nine different demonstrations were held Saturday despite bans on several of the protests due to concerns about the spread of the highly contagious delta variant. 

However, a court ruled that one of the protests that had been planned for 500 people could take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Thousands of police officers were stationed around Berlin to respond to the demonstrations, attempting to disperse crowds that had amassed despite orders prohibiting them from gathering. 

Video and photos circulated on social media showed many people gathered in the streets of the city, with most people seen without masks, as police officers forcefully detained some demonstrators. 

Counterprotesters also gathered in the area, including one called the “Love Train,” with the AP reporting that the group was able to also attract a large crowd in support of restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The protests Saturday followed demonstrations against coronavirus measures earlier this month that resulted in clashes between police and some protesters, with authorities arresting more than 600 people, according to The Guardian

German leaders for weeks have been considering whether to impose additional restrictions on unvaccinated individuals attending public gatherings, including at restaurants, cinemas and stadiums. 

As of Saturday, about 61 percent of Germany’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Reuters

Protests have also taken place across Europe in the past weeks as governments work to determine the best ways to handle new surges of the virus, which are occurring primarily among unvaccinated groups. 

In France, protesters have gathered each Saturday for more than a month in opposition to the country’s new health pass required at restaurants, museums and other locations. 

The pass includes a QR code that businesses can scan for an individual to show that they have been fully vaccinated or recently had a negative COVID-19 test. 

While about 64 percent of France’s population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and a majority of French citizens support the health pass, a vocal minority has repeatedly taken to the streets against the measure, arguing that it infringes on personal freedoms.

Tags coronavirus pandemic France Germany Reuters The Associated Press

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