A motley “anti-mask” movement takes hold in Germany

The expanding “anti-mask” movement in Germany, whose last demonstration in Berlin on Wednesday led to incidents repressed by the police, is striking for its heterogeneous nature.

From neo-Nazi militants to pacifist activists and the LGTB cause, they were among 10,000 opponents of the restriction measures imposed to combat the covid-19 pandemic.

The only point in common is the minimization of the danger of the pandemic and the distrust of institutions.

A new mobilization is planned this weekend in Leipzig, a city in eastern Germany where another protest in early November resulted in clashes with the security forces.

In front of the Brandenburg gate in the capital on Wednesday, flags of the LGBT community, the emblem of the pacifist Gandhi and also that of the American conspiracy movement QAnon were mixed.

Demonstrators, who wore caps with the slogan “Trump 2020”, marched along with supporters of community ecology, esotericism, evangelists or hippies.

Most protesters focus on rejecting vaccination, while minimizing the dangers of covid-19.

“Mortality is not higher than during flu waves,” Ina Meyer-Stoll, a protester carrying a banner with the message, “People on the left are also against it,” told .. However, scientists and the WHO showed that the “fatality rate” of covid is much higher than that of seasonal flu.

– New conspirators –

Along with her, Achim Ecker, in his 50s and a loyal voter of Los Verdes, explains that he has “lost confidence in the political parties” that, according to him, were promoting “a vaccine with a sloppy control process.”

Bonny, a student with a flower sticker on her forehead, denounces restrictions that “rob her of youth.”

Under her harmless grandmother guise, Birgit Vogt, 75, denies the existence of the pandemic and does not hesitate to draw a parallel between the restrictions and the Nazis’ seizure of power in Germany in 1933. “Fear and panic allow control the masses, as in Hitler’s time, “he says.

“As after September 11 [de 2001, fecha de los ataques suicidas en Estados Unidos], which inspired numerous conspiracy theories, I fear that we are witnessing the same phenomenon with the pandemic, “Miro Dittrich, from the Amadeu Antonio Anti-racist Foundation, told ..

According to him, “the number of adherents increases dramatically and many are newcomers. Confinement played its role, with people isolated from their social environment and spending enormous time on the internet.”

– Against an elite –

There are also some right-wing extremists, close to the AfD party, or neo-Nazis in the crosshairs of the intelligence services. On Wednesday, in front of the police, a group of a dozen people chanted “Sieg Heil” at the end of the demonstration, making the Hitler salute, an . journalist confirmed. Previous protests were peppered with anti-Semitic slogans.

The agents used water cannons to disperse the Berlin demonstration and 365 people were arrested.

“The link between the conspiracy and the extreme right is, unfortunately, logical, since they share numerous theories. Thus, for both, a small elite secretly controls the events to the detriment of the ‘Germans’, controls all the information of the’ general press ‘and the’ truth ‘would only be found in alternative media, “analyzes Dittrich.

The radical right would also count on the epidemic to gain new adherents among vaccine opponents, warns an international study commissioned by the German government and published on Friday.

“The changes brought about by the pandemic reinforce the influence of all those who, even before the appearance of the virus, considered themselves as opponents of the mainstream”, summarizes this report.

Behind the demonstrations in Germany is the “Querdenkers” (“Freethinkers”) movement. Founded in Stuttgart at the beginning of the year, it defines itself as a “freedom movement”, “peaceful and non-sectarian”, and claims more than 100,000 supporters, including personalities such as former international footballer Thomas Berthold.

dac-mat / smk / lbx / bc / zm