Covid-19: Nationwide protests in Germany down to the smallest villages

The country has never seen that before: On the same day, demonstrations against the current Covid policy take place in more than 1,000 locations across Germany. A protest researcher rates this nationwide resistance as "painful". The government is concerned about decentralized actions.

covid-19, Covid-19: Nationwide protests in Germany down to the smallest villages

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Far larger protest marches have already formed against NATO rearmament, the Iraq war, or greenhouse gases than those currently taking place against the nation’s covid policy (Covid passport) and for freedom.

But never in the history of Germany, the largest EU state, have there been so many demonstrations as in these weeks, writes WELT newspaper in its latest edition

The Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) counted 1,046 protests nationwide with a total of 188,000 participants for the Monday before last alone. Protest organizers speak of up to 2,000 actions with over 1 million participants.

There are no official figures for other pandemic protest days across the country, but the particularly hard-hit state of Baden-Württemberg, for example, reported that some 64,700 people attended rallies there at 326 locations on Monday of this week.

(Massive protests against health apartheid and for freedom across the country)

 

Piotr Kocyba of the Institute for Protest and Movement Research told WELT, “We have not had similarly broad demonstrations as at present in the past. It is impressive, but also depressing.”

According to the protest researcher, “the conservative right in Saxony and other eastern German states plays a major role in organizing the Covid demonstrations.” Nationwide, not only dissenters, right-wing extremists, and the AfD party (Action for Germany) are the driving forces, but precisely also non-political citizens and even leftists are involved.”

By and large, however, “the left or far left has not positioned itself against Covid policies, probably because the ideal of solidarity with vulnerable groups has been placed above the values of autonomy and self-determination vis-à-vis the state.”

According to Kocyba, it was noticeable that many citizens were running along who had no experience with demonstrations. “This is also evident in their dealings with the police – many participants are very surprised at how brutally the police handle things.”

(Police brutality)

Until the Covid crisis, the two largest demonstrations came from the climate movement. On September 20, 2019, ‘Fridays for Future’ called for protests in 575 German cities, according to its own data. On Sept. 24, 2021, the Friday before the federal election, there were 470 actions, according to the organization.

Neither the anti-nuclear movement, the Hartz IV opponents, nor any other movement had ever before achieved a similar spread throughout Germany on a single day.

The “Fridays for Future” protest was, of course, subject to the special condition that young people of school age were de facto exempt from school for one day if they wanted to demonstrate against greenhouse gas emissions.