After the protest of 20,000 corona skeptics in Berlin, politicians continue to express their lack of understanding. The CDU demands that such demonstrations be banned.
Or should they be allowed? "Coronaskeptiker" and police on Saturday in Berlin Photo: dpa
After the large-scale demonstration of Corona skeptics, conspiracy theorists and right-wing radicals on the weekend in Berlin, there is still a heated debate about how such incidents can be avoided in the future. While the German Association of Cities and Towns and SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach called for a crackdown on rule-breakers, the CDU/CSU questioned the principle of repeating large-scale Corona demonstrations. The Association of Towns and Municipalities criticized the state of Berlin and its actions during the demonstration.
At the demonstration of a good 20,000 critics of the Corona policy on Saturday in Berlin, the requirements had been deliberately disregarded: The minimum distance was not observed, hardly anyone wore a mask. In addition to Corona deniers and vaccination opponents, there were also many participants with clearly right-wing flags or T-shirts in the crowd. The rally was eventually broken up by the police.
The freedom to demonstrate is "a particularly important legal asset," Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) told the Suddeutsche Zeitung (Monday). However, she said, the requirements to contain the pandemic must be respected so as not to endanger others. "I lack any understanding for demonstrators who high-handedly ignore this."
The chief executive of Stadtetag, Helmut Dedy, made similar comments to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Monday editions). "New Corona hotspots must not be allowed to develop out of demonstrations. It is irresponsible not to comply with rules and regulations in such a confined space."
Therefore, fines must be imposed if regulations are disregarded during demonstrations, Dedy demanded. "And thought must be given to how to ensure that misconduct by demonstrators on such a scale as on the weekend is not repeated."
Kubicki shows understanding
SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach also called for fines for violations by demonstrators. "If tens of thousands aggressively promote not observing distance rules, then that is a threat to public health," Lauterbach said on NDR Info. A mask requirement should be imposed on demonstrations, as well as an ID requirement, in order to be able to enforce fines.
"Of course you are allowed to demonstrate, but not in such a way that what has been built up in weeks is lost," Lauterbach said. "That endangers human lives and ruins the economy."
Union interior expert Armin Schuster (CDU) told the Rheinische Post newspaper that demonstrations like the one in Berlin are "a danger to the general public." In his opinion, it would be proportionate to permit the gatherings "only under much stricter conditions or not at all." The openly displayed non-compliance with corona rules, the attacks on media representatives and repeatedly unpeaceful confrontations with the police justify a "significantly more consistent action by the assembly authorities" even in advance.
The chief executive of the Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, said Sunday evening in the Bild live talk "The Right Questions": "I don’t understand why Berlin has not issued much stricter restrictions for the demonstration." At the same time, Landsberg showed understanding for impatience among the population in the face of the Corona restrictions: "It’s a marathon race – and keeping discipline there is difficult."
Vice President of the Bundestag Wolfgang Kubicki also showed understanding for the demonstrators in the broadcast. He said he was sure that among demonstrators "there were a lot of people who are not lost to us, who are simply desperate because they no longer know why these measures are being implemented," the FDP deputy leader said. "Politicians have failed to explain to people exactly what the goal of all the measures actually is."