Europe

Germany adopts national virus law amid protests

Police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in Berlin

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 21.04.2021
Germany adopts national virus law amid protests

BERLIN 

The German parliament on Wednesday passed a national virus law which gives federal government the authority to impose lockdown measures in areas with high coronavirus infection rates.

The controversial law includes school closures and night-time curfews in regions with incidence rates of more than 100 new infections per 100,000 people over the last seven days.

The law is also geared at ending the ongoing political strife between Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition government and the 16 premiers of regional states, who refused to impose tough measures despite a surge in cases.

Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets in Berlin to protest against the law which they say would infringe on their personal freedoms.

The protests were marred by violent clashes between demonstrators and riot police who were forced to deploy tear gas and pepper spray.

Police on Twitter said a total of 152 people were arrested for COVID-19 violations as well as attacks on emergency services and resistance against law enforcement officers.

The personnel had cordoned off the parliament building and chancellery, and helicopters were seen hovering over the scene of protests. Up to 2,200 officers were on duty to manage the demonstrations.

With 24,884 new infections, overall coronavirus caseload in Germany has reached nearly 3.19 million. Some 80,634 patients have died.

The legislation is due to go to the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, on Thursday.

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