German lockdown protest draws 20,000 people

Some 20,000 people have turned out in the German city of Leipzig to protest measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

Only a few of the protesters wore face masks or were able stick to the prescribed minimum distance of 1.5 metres.

City authorities had earlier lost a court ruling to keep demonstrators out of the urban centre as judges allowed Saturday’s event to go ahead with up to 16,000 people in attendance.

Police was recording violations of Germany’s social-distancing rules, a police spokesman said.

So far the protest have been largely peaceful, and there were only a few clashes with counter-protesters.

The Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement organised the protest rally against the shutdown measures, one of a total of 27 planned for the weekend in the eastern city.

Ahead of the protest, the authorities had attempted to move the event to the site of the city’s new trade fair grounds to the north of the centre rather than allow a march in the inner city area, citing precisely the regulations that the protesters object to.

A court, however, overturned that decision on Saturday morning, allowing 16,000 protesters to gather on a main square in the city, Leipzig authorities said.

“It is hard to explain that while only members of two households are allowed to meet, 16,000 people are allowed to demonstrate on a square,” city spokesman Matthias Hasberg told German news agency dpa.

Source: German lockdown protest draws 20,000 | Moree Champion | Moree, NSW