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Berlin police break up rally as 20,000 protest virus restrictions

Dpa correspondents, DPA on

Published in News & Features

BERLIN -- Police officers in Berlin broke up a large rally against restrictions imposed to contain the novel coronavirus on Saturday, held despite Germany's rising infection numbers.

The organizers of the rally were unable to ensure safety regulations were being followed, a police spokesman told dpa.

The police broke up the event, attended by some 20,000 people. When some attendees failed to move on, police told them they were committing misdemeanors, which led to further yelling and booing.

The police also removed several organizers from the stage, to shouts and boos from those attending the rally, and used force when one person refused to comply.

A persistent group remained in front of the stage and some people were also carried away or forcibly removed by the police.

The police said some 17,000 people had taken part in an initial march through the city center, ending at the city's landmark Brandenburg Gate.

 

The organizers of the events said 1.3 million people had attended.

The police tweeted that a criminal complaint has been filed against the organizers for failing to comply with the regulations.

Few of the attendees wore masks or observed social distancing guidelines, police said.

Protestors marching through the city called for "freedom" and "resistance," shouting, "The biggest conspiracy theory is the coronavirus pandemic."

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