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Locals called it the "end the pandemic" protest.
This was the common refrain heard at the protest in Berlin, where up to 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets against draconian coronavirus restrictions.
Other chants included, "Masks make us slaves!"
Those in the crowd represented libertarians and those who are worried that the government is "stealing our freedom."
While Germany had some success in containing the virus, cases are beginning to rise again, as they are in many areas of Europe.
What makes this protest so notable is that the German government has been praised for its handling of the pandemic. The U.S., on the other hand, has been critical.
If the size of the protest is any indication, however, the German people do not approve of the way that the German government has handled things.
More details, including stunning video from these MASSIVE protests, below:
Most news outlets stuck to the facts when reporting this protest.
For example, it is clear that these are every day citizens who simply want to return to work safely so that they can make a living for their family.
Instead of reporting the facts, however, the New York Times appeared to blast the attendees as "conspiracy theorists" and right-wing crazies.
See how they portrayed the protest on Twitter:
Chants of "Nazis out!" indicate that these people are against big government.
The Associated Press has more details on these huge demonstrations:
Thousands protested Germany’s coronavirus restrictions Saturday in a Berlin demonstration marking what organizers called “the end of the pandemic” — a declaration that comes just as authorities are voicing increasing concerns about an uptick in new infections.
With few masks in sight, a dense crowd marched through downtown Berlin from the Brandenburg Gate.
Protesters who came from across the country held up homemade signs with slogans like “Corona, false alarm,” “We are being forced to wear a muzzle,” “Natural defense instead of vaccination” and “We are the second wave.”
They chanted, “We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!”
Police used bullhorns to chide participants to adhere to social distancing rules and to wear masks, apparently with little success. They tweeted that they drew up a criminal complaint against the rally’s organizer for failing to enforce hygiene rules, then said shortly afterward that the organizer had ended the march.
Police estimated about 17,000 people turned out. The demonstrators were kept apart from counterprotesters, some of whom chanted “Nazis out!”
Protesters continued to a subsequent rally on a boulevard running through the city’s Tiergarten park, which police estimated drew 20,000 people. Police declared that event over as organizers again failed to get demonstrators to wear masks or keep their distance.
Protests against anti-virus restrictions in Germany have drawn a variety of attendees, including conspiracy theorists and right-wing populists.
Unlike the U.S., Brazil and Britain, Germany’s government has been praised worldwide for its management of the pandemic. The country’s death toll — just over 9,150 people out of more than 210,670 confirmed virus cases as of Saturday — is five times less than Britain’s, which has a smaller population.
The reality is that we must adapt to a new normal.
It will be impossible to contain the spread of any disease, but people must be allowed to make responsible decisions for themselves.
People need to be able to make a living and children must be able to learn as well.
Just like in the United States, the German government condemned the protests.
Though that raises the question: would they have endorsed the protests if they were against 'systemic racism'?
Politico reports that German politicians have condemned those participating in the protests:
German politicians warned Sunday of a coronavirus resurgence and called for vigilance after thousands of people, defying calls to wear masks and take other precautions, protested in Berlin against measures to curb the pandemic's spread.
Markus Söder, the premier of the regional state of Bavaria and a potential candidate to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel, warned on Twitter that "we have to expect that corona will come back again with full force. I am very worried about the rising case numbers in Germany. Total alertness is needed, and that's why now is not the time for easing restrictions or naive carelessness."
He also expressed skepticism about launching the German Bundesliga football league without any restrictions. "Ghost games, yes, but I find stadiums with 25,000 spectators difficult to imagine. That would be the wrong signal," he said.
In a separate interview with the Sunday edition of the Bild newspaper, he warned that the virus "would remain a constant challenge which will keep us permanently under pressure."
Germany has won international praise for its handling of the pandemic and the country has been hit less hard than other European nations such as Italy, Spain and France. But the Robert Koch Institute, the government's main biomedical body, warned last week that the number of reported cases has been rising since the beginning of July.
Söder's concerns were echoed by Saskia Esken, co-leader of the Social Democrats, Merkel's junior coalition partners. In an interview with newspaper Der Tagespiegel, Esken, said she "simply saw the realistic danger of a second wave," cautioning that a return to pre-pandemic habits could undermine the fight against the virus.
On Saturday, Esken lashed out at the protesters in Berlin, thundering on Twitter: "Thousands of Covidiots are celebrating themselves as 'the second wave,' without distancing, without masks. They are putting at risk not only our health, but our successes against the pandemic, to revive the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!"
Health Minister Jens Spahn also chimed in. "Yes, demonstrations should be possible in Corona times. But not like this. Distancing, hygiene rules and facemasks are meant to protect us all," he said. On Friday, he raised the alarm about rising infection numbers and called on holiday returnees to get tested to prevent the spread of the virus.
Anja Karliczek, Germany's education minister, on Sunday called for requiring students to wear masks inside schools when they return to classrooms in the fall.
Unlike the situation in Portland, the COVID protests have tended to be far more peaceful than other types of demonstrations in recent weeks.
That alone should tell you something about the quality of the people attending the protests, as well as the ideals that they're fighting for.
In general, people attending these protests are fighting for basic human rights and the ability to make responsible decisions.
They are fighting against unnecesarily big government.
Yet, as the New York Times tweet above seemed to suggest, the media wants to paint these every day people as radicals.