Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Germany puts COVID-19 protest group under surveillance

Movement protesting pandemic restrictions questions legitimacy of state institutions, country’s Interior Ministry says

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 28.04.2021
Germany puts COVID-19 protest group under surveillance

BERLIN

Germany’s domestic secret service placed one of the country’s most radical and violent groups opposed to coronavirus restrictions under surveillance, the Interior Ministry announced in Berlin on Wednesday.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution considers parts of the protest movement against COVID-19 measures difficult to tackle because they question the legitimacy of state institutions, the ministry said.

Legitimate protests and demonstrations against the country's pandemic policy have repeatedly been exploited and escalations provoked, the ministry justified its decision.

From the point of view of the domestic intelligence agency, this particularly affects members of the so-called “Querdenker” group whose name translates as “thinking outside the box.”

The "Querdenker” group has made international headlines for being repeatedly involved in extremely brutal clashes with police where they attacked not only security forces but also media representatives.

They have also threatened people wearing medical masks and abiding by the hygienic rules against the disease.

The Interior Ministry cited also the group’s growing links to the country’s far-right scene as another reason for its decision to monitor the movement.

German authorities also fear that the conspiracy theories spread in the course of the protests against the coronavirus measures will not go away even after the end of the pandemic.

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