A massive crowd turned out in the German capital of Berlin on Saturday to protest lockdown measures that the protesters believe are limiting their freedoms.
Demanding a “return to democracy,” nearly 20,000 people assembled in demonstrations that stretched for miles across the city and featured signs that read, “Corona, false alarm,” “We are the second wave,” and “We are being forced to wear a muzzle.”
“Our demand is to return to democracy,” said one protester who did not wish to be named. “The mask that enslaves us must go.”
Law enforcement attempted to enforce social distancing and mask mandates but found limited success with the crowd of anti-government protesters who expressed frustration with months of mandatory lockdown restrictions.
“We’re here and we’re loud, because we are being robbed of our freedom!” was one of the chants performed throughout the day.
Police estimated 17,000 people participated in the event, according to the Associated Press.
German health officials have found success in mitigating outbreaks in the country, and lockdown measures have been relaxed over the past couple of months, although there was a comparatively high spike in infections on Friday with 955 new infections recorded by the country’s national disease control center.
Of the 210,000 people who have been infected with the coronavirus in Germany, more than 9,000 people have died after contracting the disease, a death rate that is five times less than that of the United Kingdom.