Germans protest against lockdown

German police wearing riot gear and face masks tussled on Saturday with dozens of protesters demonstrating in central Berlin against the coronavirus lockdown on public life.

Protesters shouted "I want my life back" and held up signs with slogans such as "Protect constitutional rights", "Freedom isn't everything but without freedom, everything is nothing", and "Daddy, what is a kiss?"

Police said on Twitter they had arrested more than 100 people.

Some protesters tried to keep a distance from each other, sitting on the ground and wearing masks, but others clustered together.

Like dozens of countries around the globe, Germany has put in place strict curbs on public activity to slow transmission of Covid-19, imposing its lockdown on March 17.

35 PHOTOS
Germans protest against lockdown
See Gallery
Germans protest against lockdown
dpatop - 25 April 2020, Berlin: A demonstrator is led away at a rally against the Corona restrictions on Rosa Luxemburg Street. The organizer is a group called "Democratic Resistance", which has already organized several similar rallies in recent weeks, in which well-known right-wing populists also took part. Demonstrations of this magnitude are currently banned in Berlin in order to prevent the corona virus from spreading. An alliance of left-wing groups has called for a counter-protest. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa (Photo by Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: Police officers observe demonstrators in front of the Alte Oper on the site of a luxury hotel. On the subject of "Refugees and housing shortage in the Corona crisis", actions took place in front of two hotels and in front of a youth hostel. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa (Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: Demonstrators stand in a row, each two meters apart, with suitcases and moving boxes in front of the Alte Oper on the site of a luxury hotel. On a banner it says "Living is not a commodity". On the subject of "Refugees and housing shortage in the Corona crisis", actions took place in front of two hotels and a youth hostel. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa (Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: Demonstrators stand in a row, each two meters apart, with suitcases and moving boxes in front of the Alte Oper on the site of a luxury hotel. On the subject of "Refugees and housing shortage in the Corona crisis", actions took place in front of two hotels and a youth hostel. Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/dpa (Photo by Frank Rumpenhorst/picture alliance via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: A police officers adjusts his face mask while monitoring a demonstration against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers tell a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, to remove his sign at an unregistered demonstration on April 25, 2020 near Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: "F. Merkel, H. Spahn, H. Wieler, H. Drosten... resign immediately" is written on the sign of a man who is participating in the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: "Knight's helmet duty for all" is written on a sign of a man who is taking part in the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Protesters hold signs referring to the Grundgesetz, or German constitution known as the basic law, as they demonstrate against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. The activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: "I am against it" is written on the protective mask of a woman who is taking part in the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: "Freedom" is written on the sign of a woman who is taking part in the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Numerous people are sitting on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart during the third demonstration of the "lateral thinking" initiative. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Protesters attempting to show they are peaceful meditate as they demonstrate against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. The activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers wear face masks while monitoring a demonstration against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: A police officer wears a face mask while monitoring a demonstration against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers wear face masks while monitoring a demonstration against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
BERLIN, GERMANY - APRIL 25: Police officers arrest a demonstrator protesting against restrictions on public life designed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, on April 25, 2020 on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin, Germany. Some activists claim that the threats posed by the virus are exaggerated and that the government's clamping down on freedom of movement and daily activity is a violation of the country's Grundgesetz, or basic law. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Police forces are observing the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: "We for the Basic Law" is written on a banner held up by participants in the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: Numerous people attend the third demonstration of the "Lateral Thinking" initiative on the Schlossplatz in Stuttgart. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa (Photo by Christoph Schmidt/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Police secure the area during a protest against the Corona restrictions in Berlin on April 25, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Police remove a demonstrator during a protest against the Corona restrictions in Berlin on April 25, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Police remove a demonstrator during a protest against the Corona restrictions in Berlin on April 25, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Police secures the area during a protest against the Corona restrictions in Berlin on April 25, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Police remove a demonstrator during a protest against the Corona restrictions in Berlin on April 25, 2020, amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP) (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
25 April 2020, Berlin: Police officers lead a demonstrator away during a rally against the Corona restrictions on Rosa Luxemburg Street. Demonstrations of this magnitude are currently banned in Berlin to prevent the corona virus from spreading. An alliance of left-wing groups has called for a counter-protest. Photo: Jörg Carstensen/dpa (Photo by Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
ZGORZELEC, POLAND - 2020/04/24: A woman wearing a face mask stands behind the fence on the German side of The Zgorzelec-Gorlitz Old Town Bridge during the demonstration. Hundreds of polish-Germany border residents protest against anti-virus measures as they block them from commuting to work on a daily basis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries are requiring those entering to undergo a 14day quarantine period, though Germany makes an exception for cross border commuters, Poland does not. (Photo by Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ZGORZELEC, POLAND - 2020/04/24: Armed police convoy patrol the street during the demonstration. Hundreds of polish-Germany border residents protest against anti-virus measures as they block them from commuting to work on a daily basis. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries are requiring those entering to undergo a 14day quarantine period, though Germany makes an exception for cross border commuters, Poland does not. (Photo by Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The protesters handed out newspapers entitled "Democratic Resistance", which said the new coronavirus is an attempt to seize power by spreading fear. The papers quoted 127 doctors from around the world who question the need for strict lockdowns.

Police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said permission had been granted for a newspaper distribution campaign, but the health authorities had not granted permission for a public demonstration.

"During coronavirus times and according to containment regulations, we are obliged to prevent a gathering," Cablitz said, adding 180 police officers were on duty.

Germany's Constitutional Court ruled earlier this month that people have the right to hold protests if they adhere to social distancing rules, after pro-democracy activists brought a case argued that the lockdown breaches freedom of assembly.

On Saturday, some protesters sat peacefully on the ground at a distance from each other, holding white roses in reference to the White Rose resistance movement against the Nazis.

"We are here today ... to stand up for our opinion. For the protection of constitutional rights, freedom, and above all freedom of speech," said a woman holding a rose who gave her name only as Sandra.

Germany has the fifth-highest Covid-19 case total behind the United States, Spain, Italy and France. However it has kept fatalities relatively low after early and extensive testing.

Encouraged by lower infection figures, the government allowed smaller stores to re-open on Monday, along with car and bicycle dealers and bookstores, but social distancing rules remain in place until May 3.

The country's confirmed cases increased by 2,055 to 152,438 and the death toll rose by 179 to 5,500, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Saturday - a second day of deceleration in both cases and deaths.

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS