The Berlin government has banned a planned protest against measures put in place to (allegedly) contain the coronavirus “pandemic”.
The event, scheduled for the 29th of August and coinciding with protests in other countries, including the UK, France and Canada, has been shut down by the Berlin Senate over fears the crowd would “violate the current infection protection laws”.
If you’re concerned about this being an attack on political freedoms, don’t worry Andreas Geisel (Berlin’s Interior Senator), is here to reassure us all [our emphasis]:
This is not a decision against freedom of assembly, but a decision in favour of infection protection.”
Although his claims this was not a political decision were somewhat undermined, when he added:
[Berlin will not be] misused as a stage for corona deniers…and right-wing extremists.”
The coronavirus has a patchy, if not outright selective, record when it comes to protest movements. The anti-government protests in Belarus, for example, are exempt from being “dangerous”. As are the A level results protests in the UK.
In the US, and around the world, Black Lives Matter protests – far from being considered possible serious contamination risks – were applauded by health care workers, and even given special dispensation for violating lockdown measures in many countries (including Germany).
It seems if the right people deem your protest “important”, it removes all risk of spreading covid19. This coronavirus is a politcally savvy operator, allowing governments to be very picky about which protests are dangerous, and which are necessary.
Will other countries follow Germany’s example?