Berlin bans protests against Covid-19 curbs

Authorities in the German capital of Berlin have banned several protests against anti-coronavirus measures planned for this weekend.

On Wednesday, Andreas Geisel, senator of the interior of Berlin, welcomed the ban, while stressing that “this is not a decision against freedom of assembly but a decision for infection protection”, reports Xinhua news agency.

Citing the rising infection numbers in Germany, the authorities had “chosen life” over the fundamental right to freedom of assembly, Geisel stressed.

The scheduled protests in the German capital were expected by the authorities to “violate the current infection protection ordinance”, according to a statement by the city of Berlin on Wednesday.

The Stuttgart-based “Querdenken 711” (Lateral Thinking 711) initiative has organised a protest in Berlin with an expected 22,000 participants for this Saturday.

Michael Ballweg, founder of the initiative, criticized the ban and said they would take legal action at the Federal Constitutional Court.

Berlin officials, however, argued that previous protests in August had shown that the participants had “deliberately ignored existing hygiene rules and corresponding requirements”, the statement read.

As of Thursday, the total number of coronavirus cases in Germany stood at 239,010, with 9,352 deaths.

Berlin has so far registered 10,543 cases and 226 fatalities.