Hundreds protest against ongoing coronavirus lockdowns in Germany

Hundreds have protested in Germany against ongoing lockdowns as the nation's president sounded a warning about lifting restrictions too soon.

02 May 2020, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart: People take part in a rally against the Corona restrictions at Cannstatter Wasen. Photo: Christoph Schmidt/dpa

People take part in a rally against coronavirus restrictions in Stuttgart, Germany, 2 May, 2020. Source: AAP

Hundreds have joined demonstrations in the German cities of Stuttgart and Berlin to protest the ongoing restrictions on public life sparked by the coronavirus.

Organisers say several thousand people joined what they described as a "non-partisan" weekly protest in the southwest city of Stuttgart on Saturday.

Protest initiator Michael Ballweg claimed 5000 people joined the demonstration, up from a few hundred the week before.


Stuttgart police would not estimate the size of the crowd, but said the gathering went off without incident and that demonstrators largely kept the required distance from one another.

Ballweg has said his "Querdenken" movement, a name which translates roughly as "lateral thinking," is calling for the restoration of fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.

The tech professional was initially banned from holding the demonstration by the city, but Germany's Constitutional Court overturned the ban.

People in Stuttgart protesting coronavirus shutdowns across Germany. 2 May, 2020.
Source: AAP

In the capital Berlin, police said around 300 protesters gathered at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in the central Mitte district.

City police had only approved two protests of up to 20 participants each.

Registered outdoor gatherings are allowed in Berlin of up to 20 people. From Monday this rule will be relaxed to allow groups of up to 50 people.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he is watching the attempts of politicians to strike a balance between protecting the population and providing relief from the restrictions.

That the country was now experiencing fewer new daily infections was the result of "intelligent crisis management, coupled with the responsibility and discipline of the people in Germany", he said.

If the restrictions were now to be lifted too quickly, "we would have won a Pyrrhic victory", he warned.

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Published 3 May 2020 at 6:58am, updated 3 May 2020 at 7:57am