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Berlin police ban further Covid-sceptic demos after weekend violence

The Berlin authorities have banned three demonstrations planned for Monday in protest at measures to control the coronavirus pandemic following weekend violence, police in the German capital said.

Berlin, 2 August 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The Berlin authorities have banned three demonstrations planned for Monday in protest at measures to control the coronavirus pandemic following weekend violence, police in the German capital said.

The bans were imposed on two marches along a main thoroughfare leading through the large Tiergarten park, where organizers had said there would be 10,000 participants, and a gathering at the central Potsdamer Platz under the rubric “Free Living, Free Love,” where 1,000 were expected.

On Sunday, almost 600 people were arrested or temporarily detained for police to take personal details, during protests involving up to 5,000 demonstrators, many linked to the Querdeenken (Lateral Thinking) movement opposed to the coronavirus restrictions.

Police deployed in large numbers, seeking to control the protests with water cannon at the Victory Column in the centre of the Tiergarten. They also used helicopters to monitor the protest.

A 49-year-old man died in hospital after collapsing while his details were being taken on Sunday, police said.

The man had complained of tingling in his arm and chest. First aid was administered and an ambulance called. A post mortem was to be conducted on Monday, they added.

Police have justified the ban on these demonstrations, while taking a more liberal approach to others, on the grounds that the Querdenken protests deliberately flout the social distancing measure still in place.

Querdenken groups around the country have routinely staged events and marches that take a radical tone, drawing in right-wing extremists, peddlers of anti-Semitism and conspiracy theorists.

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