Police use water cannon as German lockdown protest turns violent

Participants stand in front of the State Theater during a rally taking place under the motto "Free citizens Kassel - basic rights and democracy" in Kassel, Germany, Saturday, March 20, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AP

Germany Police deployed watercannon and pepper spray after a gathering of some 20,000 protesters against lockdown and other coronavirus rules incentral Germany turned violent, with some demonstrators throwingbottles at police.

Protesters from all over Germany converged on the central city of Kassel for the march, which was organised by the"Querdenker" - "Lateral Thinkers" - online conspiracy movement.

"Bottles were thrown and there were attempts to breakthrough barriers," police said on Twitter.

Police said protesters disobeyed instructions they gave tohelp ensure people's safety, including by refusing to wear facemasks and observe social distancing guidelines.

Protesters carried placards reading "No compulsoryvaccination" and "Democracy will not tolerate censorship".

Marchers faced counter-protesters wearing face masks, one ofwhom held up a placard reading "Vaccinated".

With Germany in its fourth month of lockdown and vaccination efforts lagging compared to Britain and the United States, many people, from shopkeepers to would-be holiday makers, are increasingly restive at the lack of a clear path to a return tonormal life.

National and regional leaders are due to consult on Monday over the next steps in the national lockdown. But with case numbers rising sharply thanks to the spread of more infectious variants, many politicians are saying it is too early to ease restrictions.

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 9:50:05 AM |

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