Thousands of demonstrators on Wednesday protested against the German government's attempt to enact additional coronavirus restrictions. German police were forced to unleash water cannons and pepper spray to disperse angry crowds in Berlin's government district, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).
Around 190 protesters were arrested, and nine police officers were injured after clashes in central Berlin. Police said large crowds ignored repeated calls to wear face masks and practice safe social distancing - though none of the requests were followed by protesters.
"Police calling on demonstrators to leave. Lots of booing. Demonstrators want to access cordoned-off area around parliament where new additions to infection law are being debated [at the moment,]," DW's Nina Haase said.
In a series of tweets, Haase described the chaotic scene outside the Brandenburg Gate. She said demonstrators chanted, "we are the people," adding that many were singing the national anthem as they held the line.
Police were seen moving in on demonstrators, using large vehicles outfitted with water cannons. She said, "police called on demonstrators to stop attacking police officers."
As water cannons soaked demonstrators outside the Brandenburg Gate, riot police also moved in protesters, pushing them back away from government buildings. Twitter handle "SecondOpinion" shows the angry mob from an elevated view.
Absolute chaos on the ground.
The protest was sparked by Germany's lower and upper houses that passed changes to the country's existing infection protection law. The changes allow government officials to impose new social distancing restrictions rules on mask-wearing, and regulations of when businesses can open and close.
In recent weeks, Germany has seen a sharp uptick in new infections. About 17,600 new coronavirus cases were reported in Germany on Wednesday, bringing total infections to 833,307.
The coronavirus pandemic is turning out to be an era of mass social unrest worldwide. As the second virus wave ravages many western countries, people will rise up against these draconian measures.
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