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Conspiracy theorists, Nazis and hippies side by side: My observations at the anti-Corona demonstration

Members of the European Parliament, like all members of parliaments, have the right to accompany demonstrations as observers. I made use of this right last Saturday, when some 18,000 critics of the Federal Government's corona policy took to the streets in Berlin. I shared my impressions on twitter during the day. 

It was already clear in advance that the atmosphere would be tense: The city of Berlin had banned the demonstration in advance, but this ban had been overturned by the Berlin district court. Right-wing radicals had called for a "Storming of Berlin".

The participants turned out to be a mixture of Reich citizens, Nazis, conspiracy theorists, hippies, anti-vaccination activists and some people who allegedly only fear for their democratic rights. Hardly anyone kept their distance, and I was often the only one wearing a mask.

The counter-demonstration at Bebelplatz was a different story: Nearly all participants kept their distance and wore masks. They shouted: "You march with Nazis and fascists". 

Towards the end the situation became increasingly acute. The request of the police to break up the demonstration due to non-compliance with hygiene regulations was ignored by the demonstrators, and this remained largely without consequences. The attempt by a group of Reich citizens to storm the Reichstag will probably remain the most prominent memory of this day. 

If a similar demonstration is allowed again, I will definitely try to be there as an observer. One thing is clear: For those who joined this demonstration, it was less of a problem to march with Nazis than to wear a mouth and nose protection. 

Subsequently, the Berlin Senate issued a decree that requires the covering of mouth and nose for future events with over 100 participants. 

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