clashes erupt between the police and opponents of measures against Covid

The clashes took place during one of the largest gatherings of this type since the start of the year across the Rhine.

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Clashes erupted on Saturday March 20 between the police and opponents of the restrictive measures taken against the Covid-19 in Cassel, a city in central Germany. During one of the largest such gatherings since the start of the year in this country, law enforcement agencies used pepper spray when a group of protesters attempted to force their way through a cordon of police to join other protesters. According to the local newspaper Wetterauer Zeitung (in German), “a helicopter and water cannons” are also mobilized by the police.

This demonstration took place at the call of the Querdenker movement (for nonconformist), which has organized some of the largest “anti-corona” rallies in Germany since the start of the pandemic. It brings together members of the far left, followers of conspiracy theories, detractors of vaccination as well as supporters of the far right. In Cassel, some demonstrators carried signs on which one could read: “End the lockdown” and “Corona rebels”.

Germany is currently facing an increase “very clearly exponential” Covid-19 infections, linked in particular to the spread of the variant initially detected in the United Kingdom, said vice-president of the Institute for Public Health Surveillance Robert Koch (RKI). The country recorded more than 17,000 officially reported cases in 24 hours on Friday, about 5,000 more than a week ago. The incidence rate reached 95.6 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Friday (against 90 on Thursday), very close to the 100 mark supposed to trigger new restrictions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the 16 Länder will meet on Monday to decide on possible new closures, so the country had made some easing in early March.

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