The Perils of Being a Coronaskeptic in Germany

The two videos below show the treatment meted out to citizens who protested the coronavirus restrictions last weekend in two German cities. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes and RAIR Foundation for the subtitling.

Video #1: Protest in Berlin

The first video was recorded in Berlin by a woman who was arrested for not immediately obeying commands by police to leave the area of the demonstration:

Video #2: Protest in Frankfurt

The second video was recorded after an event in Frankfurt am Main. Henryk Stöckl is a journalist and a vlogger. Here he and Inge Steinmetz describe his treatment by police in Frankfurt who used the arbitrary powers granted them by the German state to suppress dissent or even discussion about the restrictions imposed due to the Wuhan Coronavirus:

Below is an article (also translated by MissPiggy) from Bayerischer Rundfunk about the Corona demonstrations that took place in various German cities on Saturday:

Numerous protests against Corona restrictions

April 25, 2020

In several German cities today people gathered for demonstrations against the Corona restrictions. There were also protests in Bavaria. Some of the participants were rights activists, conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccination activists.

Hundreds of people gathered for partly spontaneous, partly registered rallies.

Nuremberg: Demonstration was not registered, curious excuse of the participants

In Nuremberg city centre at least 50 people gathered for an undeclared rally. According to BR research, this was a collection of conspiracy theorists and right-wingers who criticized the government’s Corona actions and organized themselves into chat groups.

Several USK emergency personnel were there in the afternoon and broke up the rally. At least one person was taken into custody. According to the police, the participants had denied that it was a meeting at all, that they only wanted to sit there together and meditate.

Würzburg: Protest under strict conditions

Another 50 people demonstrated in Würzburg against the Corona measures. The city had previously granted the necessary exemption from the current ban on assembly.

The demonstrators displayed placards such as “Fundamental rights!” and “Freedom, I stand here for you!” and also protested against a vaccination requirement. They sang the national anthem and the song “Thoughts are free”. The rally was registered by the group “Democratic Resistance”, which has regularly organized similar demonstrations in Berlin since March.

The police enforced the strict conditions imposed by the city of Würzburg for the demonstration. The demonstrators had to keep a minimum distance of one and a half meters from each other and also from passers-by.

Kempten: Hundreds of onlookers, police must demand distance

A large crowd of onlookers gathered at a protest in Kempten. A demonstration with 20 participants was registered and approved. They remained in an area cordoned off by barriers.

Police estimate that 300 more people were outside the cordoned-off area during the operation. Some of them were likely visitors to the weekly market, which took place at the same time, a police spokesman said. The emergency services drew the attention of onlookers and demonstrators with loudspeaker announcements about the current distance rules. The people were close together, the police spokesman said. Thanks to the announcements, however, the police were able to enforce the distance.

Demonstrators as well as onlookers chanted “We are the people.” The protesters’ signs read: “Fundamental rights? Yes! Forced vaccinations? No!” Other inscriptions were “Freedom” and “Enough is enough! End of shutdown”. The demonstration was organized by a group that describes itself as a “group of staunch democrats.” In a press release, they stressed in advance that they do not belong to any political party or tendency.

Berlin: Protest despite ban, several arrests

Despite a current ban on demonstrations in Berlin, about 1,000 people gathered to protest against the Corona restrictions — at times close to each other.

Police repeatedly asked participants to leave the scene via loudspeakers. Individuals were arrested. Gradually, the crowd dispersed in the afternoon.

The protesters belonged to various political currents. Among them were well-known right-wing populists, AfD politicians, conspiracy theorists, but also many people without a clearly recognizable political orientation. Some people sat meditating on the floor.

Stuttgart: Initiative overcomes demonstration ban with urgent application

Between 350 and 500 people in Stuttgart responded to the call for the “lateral thinkers” initiative and gathered in Schlossplatz. At the demonstration, which was described as “non-partisan”, the organizer, Michael Ballweg, called for respect for fundamental rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of belief.

The demonstration took place for the third time. After an initial ban by the city, the initiative was allowed to demonstrate a week ago, because the Federal Constitutional Court had granted an urgent motion against the ban.

Protests also on the German-Polish border

Several hundred people took to the streets on the German-Polish border on Friday evening to protest against the closure of the border by the Polish government. Warsaw had justified the move by citing the Corona pandemic.

In the neighbouring town of Zgorzelec near Görlitz, there were about 300 people, the PAP news agency reported. In the border towns of Slubice near Frankfurt (Oder), Rosowek in Western Pomerania and Gubin in Lower Lusatia, there were demonstrations with more than a hundred participants each.

Video transcript #1:

00:03   Please use another street to get through. Thank you.
00:09   OK, we’ve understood. Please use the another street.
00:13   Take your bicycle. —You’re too close to me. Social distancing, please.
00:16   We’re clearing the area. —Please don’t touch my property.
00:19   We’re clearing the area. See that you follow instructions. —Excuse me. You’re really too close to me.
00:23   Right, then just get going. —Why? —Just get going. —Excuse me, but why? —Take your bicycle and go.
00:29   Hey, please stop! What gall!
00:35   Awful!
00:39   Social distancing please! —Yeah, we understand. —Please, please.
00:42   Yes, please, then do it. —Then we get a bit closer. —Please stop it!
00:45   Then we come a little closer. Just go home. Just go home. —OK. Thank you.
00:48   Thank you. —Go home. —Thank you. —Just go home. —I am at home. Thank you.
00:51   I am at home. Thank you. Thank you very much.
00:54   Take your bike and just go home. —Please give me your service number.
00:57   We’ll do that later, just go.
01:00   No, I want to do it now please. OK. Yep. —You can take a picture. So we’ve understood, now go home.
01:05   Thank you very much. You’re very friendly.
01:12   Sorry about that. Sorry. —That’s annoying. —Yes, that’s very annoying. —Thanks for the sarcasm.
01:20   Hold on. I can’t do this. Social distancing please. You’re too close to me. You’re too close to me.
01:25   Oh, that’s very friendly. Thank you. —You’re also too close to me.
01:28   Could you hand me my bottle of water? That would be very friendly. Thank you very, very much.
01:33   Are you going home? —I am at home. Thank you. —Just go down that street. —Could you please
01:36   give me my bottle of water? Thank you. —That’s very friendly. Thank you.
01:41   Thank God we have everything recorded. How nice.
01:45   According to the order, you are also in violation of the assembly ordinance.
01:50   Ah, OK, just like you. Social distancing then. —No,
01:53   we’re acting on higher authority. —Oh, OK. Got it. Thank you.
01:56   OK, put that away and be on your way, otherwise… —Why should I put my phone away?
01:59   Is that also a violation of the Infection Law? Thank you.
02:02   You’re not allowed to use your phone while biking. It’s that simple.
02:06   I’m not riding my bike, look, I’m pushing my bicycle. —OK. Put the phone away. —Why?
02:11   Why!? —Because we are clearing the area and if you don’t follow instructions you will be arrested.
02:16   Oh! —Then I will have to record your personal information. —OK, we can do that now.
02:19   Should I show you my identification card? —Please take your bike. —Not yet. —Not yet?
02:23   I would like a answer as to why I’m not allowed to push my bike here?
02:27   And why it is being claimed that I’m riding it?
02:31   It’s a surprise. You can go in this direction. —B***s***. B***s***.
02:35   Come on people, really? —So you have a last opportunity or otherwise we’ll take you into custody.
02:39   For what reason? —A violation… —For what reason?
02:42   I’m trying to tell you. A violation of the Containment Measures.
02:46   The same one that you are also violating? You are too close to me. —We are here to enforce it.
02:51   You accuse me of, you accuse me of riding my bike. —Show your identification, identification. —OK.
02:56   Excuse me. —Your identification, your identification.
03:00   OK, good. —You are being arrested now.

Video transcript #2:

00:00   Hello my dear friends! I’m sure you just saw what just happened.
00:04   I was just arrested by the police in Frankfurt.
00:08   They recorded my personal information and they took my smart phone.
00:13   The confiscated it as evidence, even though I told them I’m a journalist.
00:18   Nevertheless, they confiscated it. At the public square
00:23   there was a group of people who came to protest
00:27   against violations of basic rights. The police suddenly started to remove people.
00:33   When they came toward me, they grabbed me roughly by my hands and arms.
00:38   I told them that wasn’t necessary, because I said I would go with them. After that,
00:44   they took me into a corner where no one else was. Where no one could see what was happening.
00:47   I was expecting the worst. Why else would they bring me to a corner where no one
00:51   could see anything? I stood there for about 45 minutes.
00:56   Then a criminal investigator showed up and recorded all my personal information.
01:01   That’s when they confiscated my cell phone, as I mentioned earlier,
01:04   because I violated the Infection Law of the city of Frankfurt,
01:07   and was in violation of the copyright law for allegedly filming police officers.
01:12   I have never at any time been accused of violating the copyright law since I’ve been doing this.
01:18   This is pure harassment once again. Here with me is Inge Steinmetz,
01:22   and the same thing happened to her.
01:25   She followed where they took me. —Hello. —Hi, yes. —The people who gathered on the square had
01:29   nothing against the constitution; quite the contrary, they were there
01:32   and we were there to defend the constitution. —Yes, exactly.
01:35   We’re protesting against the restriction of basic rights. —I think maybe you said that wrong.
01:39   Yes, well they were pretty brutal. Those of you who were watching the live stream saw it.
01:44   And I really hope that someone, what do you call it? —That there’s playback or… —Downloaded.
01:49   Oh, that someone captured it. —Yes, that would be really important.
01:54   Yes, that someone capture it, because it’s important to show what the police did to us.
01:58   You followed me, right? I also gave you my cell phone. —Yes, we wanted to make sure you were OK.
02:02   Exactly, exactly. —I don’t know, they maybe could have beaten you up or something,
02:06   or injected you with something. Who knows. —Yeah, you don’t.
02:09   Yes. Nowadays, you never know. —You really don’t know. —Look what happened to Ms. Bahner.
02:13   She was admitted to a psychiatric ward. —Yes, yes.
02:16   So when the police came, you filmed that part, right?
02:19   Yes, then they shut off the camera. —They tore it out of your hands.
02:23   Yes, the took it away. Exactly. They also violently
02:27   took me away, and I have an injured foot. At the end of it,
02:33   a police officer asked me if had received any physical injury
02:39   as a result of the, well, I’ll call it an “arrest”. —Preliminary arrest.
02:44   Yes, so I said I didn’t know, but my foot is injured from the way they took me away.
02:50   I think I will go to the doctor and have it examined. If there’s something wrong,
02:53   then I will hold the police responsible, because it’s unacceptable
02:56   to drag an older woman away like that.
02:59   Without a reason! —You have to imagine, there was no
03:03   organized meeting. It wasn’t even a demonstration. —No.
03:07   There just a few people there with whom we were speaking with, asking them what they thought.
03:10   Whether it was good or bad concerning our basic rights.
03:13   Among other things. —And there were a variety of opinions.
03:17   It wasn’t as if there were a protest group with the same opinion.
03:21   Exactly the opposite. —The best part was that there were people everywhere
03:25   in the background. Groups of ten to twenty people, standing together in one place and the police
03:29   didn’t do anything about it. —Yes, absolutely nothing. —They followed us for ideological reasons,
03:33   that’s how it seems to us. Now my cell phone is gone. That means a lot,
03:38   since I’m a journalist. They confiscated my work equipment.
03:42   And they charged me with violating the copyright law just for
03:45   holding your phone. Honestly, I’m not even sure how
03:48   to shut my own cell phone on and off, let alone your phone. —You didn’t have one.
03:52   I didn’t know how to turn yours off, and besides,
03:55   it was yours. How am I supposed to know?
03:59   The whole live stream could have been deleted or something.
04:03   I don’t know, and I usually don’t touch other people’s things.
04:06   That’s what I told the police officer who ripped it out of my hands.
04:10   I wanted to speak with my lawyer, but I was denied the opportunity to do that
04:13   several times. I insisted that I be able to speak with my lawyer, and they told me only
04:16   when the law enforcement actions were completed. So not until they were finished and they allowed
04:21   me to leave was I permitted to speak with my lawyer. I was unable to get advice on how to react
04:24   while this was happening. That’s totally unacceptable.
04:27   They absolutely didn’t want us to film what was happening.
04:30   Exactly, they made sure of that. —They didn’t want any witnesses. Just like the last time. —Yes,
04:34   exactly like the last time. They didn’t want to do it in public view.
04:39   That’s why they took me to a secluded corner. —Honestly, I will take action against this.
04:44   It is absolutely unacceptable that we were separated and brought to a corner
04:50   by the police, away from public view and being targeted.
04:55   If the police were acting lawfully, they would do it in public view. —Exactly.
04:59   The best part of the entire situation was when
05:03   I wanted to speak with my lawyer. The number is of course saved on my phone.
05:06   The investigator told me I could give her my password.
05:09   Unbelievable! It was a young lady with long brown hair.
05:13   She’s probably from the criminal investigation division here
05:18   in Frankfurt and she told me I couldn’t get the number of my lawyer from my cell phone. Not only
05:25   was I not allowed to make a phone call, I wasn’t allowed to find the number on my cell phone.
05:28   Can she access your cell phone? —No, luckily it’s secured, but she asked for the password for
05:32   my cell phone. That’s unbelievable. —So the police could probably just demand
05:36   that you give over your banking password too. That’s totally unbelievable.
05:41   At first we thought they were doing a good job, because they didn’t arrest everyone right away.
05:45   They cunningly removed us away from the square. —No, no, it was done on purpose and planned.
05:49   It was planned. —I said it directly the police officers
05:52   a few times that they are doing this to intimidate us so that
05:55   we won’t show up next time. I told him, by doing that,
05:58   they’ll achieve the exact opposite. —Exactly. —That would be the exact reason why I’d show up.
06:02   So I will come back here next week. They can arrest me again
06:05   and take my camera. —Exactly. —I didn’t break any law
06:08   and complied with social distancing rules. I didn’t
06:11   call for a demonstration. I also didn’t film anyone.
06:14   The copyright law is a special thing. I only filmed the crowd.
06:19   All the police officers had the same number and had masks on.
06:25   How could I have filmed anyone clearly? —They are covered up.
06:30   You can’t recognize them. —They can’t be identified.
06:34   That’s right. That’s right. —It’s actually a total joke.
06:39   I have to wear a mask in shops, and even in the bank
06:44   starting next Monday, right? —Yes. —However, while driving,
06:47   wearing a mask is not permitted, right?
06:50   That way, if I drive too fast or run a red light, they are able to recognize me.
06:55   Yes. —It’s a total joke. I can’t believe Germans allow themselves
07:00   to be treated this way. —That’s the silly part, since you can’t even identify the police officers…
07:03   You can’t even identify them. —You can’t identify them, so it doesn’t violate the copyright law.
07:07   No. —You can’t see who they are. The worst part for me is that
07:11   I put everything on my smart phone. When they take that away,
07:15   they aren’t just taking my camera, which I need as journalist,
07:18   they are taking my very personal information.
07:21   All my contacts and all my information. —It’s like what happened to Martin Sellner.
07:24   Yes, just like what happened to Martin Sellner. They kept it for months, maybe even years.
07:27   It wasn’t his fault that someone made a donation. We were just standing
07:33   there coincidentally and discussed political topics.
07:37   —We were also listening to music. There was a Polish singer there and
07:43   she was singing. I was there to listen to the music.
07:46   Exactly right, or a few were eating ice cream there.
07:49   Yes, they were there eating ice cream. —What we really need to point out here
07:53   is, hold on just a sec, we need to point out that this
07:56   is no longer a constitutional form of government, right? —No, no. —It can no longer be called that.
08:00   If people don’t get off their a**es and do something about it. You don’t have to
08:06   do the same thing we’re doing, but just show up, damn it. Get off your a**es.
08:12   There are always so few of us… —Your feeling sorry for us doesn’t get us any further.
08:16   We need more people on the streets. —Yes. —If everyone in the DDR
08:20   had all stayed home, then nothing would have changed.
08:23   Yes. —It was important to protest against a regime, it’s exactly the same now
08:26   with our basic rights being eroded. It’s time to open your mouth,
08:29   raise your voice and move your feet. —Yes, yes. Exactly. —OK. So we’re fine.
08:33   That was just the latest update. —Exactly. We’ll talk to you next week. —See you then, bye!

2 thoughts on “The Perils of Being a Coronaskeptic in Germany

  1. Would this “hero” harass a group of Muslim youths in
    This arrogant, rude manner?

    Most probably take their orders for takeaway
    Coffees and pay for them out of his own pocket.

    Disgrace to his uniform.

  2. There is a lot of skepticism here as far as covid-19 is concerned
    This was expressed by an orthodox priest today on TV.
    Many will follow.Something is very fishy.

Comments are closed.