Protests were held in the German capital of Berlin on Sunday against the government’s measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations.
There were clashes, and law enforcers used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters. Police, which had more than 2,000 officers on duty, made several arrests.
Entrances to the Victory Column monument were blocked, and the protesters were not allowed to go toward Bundestag, the federal parliament, and Brandenburg Gate.
Judges at an administrative court had banned the weekend protests amid fears of a rise in coronavirus infections sparked by the Delta variant.
The court said it had fears participants would flout rules on mask wearing and social distancing as Germany’s COVID-19 infection numbers are on the rise.
On Thursday, Germany recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases for nearly two months, and the Delta variant has become the dominant strain in the country.
Germany eased many of its coronavirus restrictions in May, but many activities such as dining out or staying in a hotel, require proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test.
The Querdenker movement (Lateral Thinkers) has become the loudest voice against coronavirus restrictions in Germany, and has often drawn thousands of supporters to its demonstrations.
*Writing by Gozde Bayar in Ankara
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