German Police Shut Down Huge Protest Against Virus Mandates

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Berlin police ordered a protest against Germany’s pandemic restrictions to disband Saturday after participants refused to observe social distancing rules.

Tens of thousands of people had gathered in the German capital in a show of defiance against the country’s virus mandates.

Uwe Bachmann, 57, said he had come from southwestern Germany to protest for free speech and his right not to wear a mask.

Another protester had traveled with his sister from their home near the Dutch border to attend the protest and believed that the COVID-19 cases being reported in Germany now were false positives.

Germany’s disease control agency recorded almost 1,500 new infections over the past day. The country has a total death toll of some 9,300 people.

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Berlin’s regional government had attempted to ban the protest.

Protest organizers successfully appealed the decision on Friday, though a court ordered them to ensure social distancing. Failure to enforce that measure prompted Berlin police to dissolve the march.

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In Germany, masks must be worn on public transport, in stores and some public buildings such as libraries and schools.

Meanwhile, a few hundred people rallied Saturday in eastern Paris to protest new mask rules and other restrictions. Police watched closely but did not intervene.

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