Thousands of people protested in Stuttgart on Saturday against curbing the virus amid heated debate Germany on tightening action in the face of the third wave of Covid-19.
Protesters, some wearing masks, marched from the city center to the main square in northeastern Stuttgart.
Police in the southwestern city said demonstrators ignored requests to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rules, although there were no reports of major incidents.
The movement against social restrictions, known as “Querdenken (Anti-conformist)”, has been holding regular protests in Germany since the start of the pandemic.
It brings together members of the extreme left and far right alongside conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccination groups.
On March 20, 15,000-20,000 gathered in the city of Kassel, causing clashes with police and multiple arrests.
In Stuttgart, demonstrators on Saturday held banners with the slogan “End Covid dictatorship”.
“It is an exaggeration,” said Evelyn, one of the demonstrators who called for “an end to the lockdown”, adding that she did not believe the official figures for Covid cases and deaths.
Rainer’s parade partner said; “I am against mandatory vaccination.”
The protests came against the backdrop of a heated debate in Germany about increasing Covid restrictions in the face of a surge in infections.
The government is “studying” the possibility of introducing uniform measures across German states “to stop a third wave if regional action is insufficient,” a spokesman said Saturday.
Chancellor Angela Merkel supports strict measures to contain the virus, with an incidence rate of 131 cases per 100,000 people over the past week.
In a recent television interview he called for a curfew, which has never been enforced at the national level, and threatened to impose stricter measures at the federal level if regions, which are responsible for health issues, do not take adequate action.
On Thursday he urged Germans to limit their social contact during the Easter holidays.