In Brief: 365 arrested in Berlin after protest against coronavirus rules turns violent

The police tweeted they were pepper sprayed and pelted with bottles and rocks and fired back water cannons and pepper spray in response.

Photo by Klaus Baumdick on Unsplash

 

Updated on Nov. 19 at 10:40 a.m.

By Monika Müller-Kroll and Kate Brady

A Berlin demonstration against coronavirus restrictions turned violent on Wednesday.

The police tweeted they were pepper sprayed and pelted with bottles and rocks. Officers fired back water cannons and pepper spray in response.

They also temporarily arrested 365 demonstrators, mostly due to pandemic-related violations.

Meanwhile after a heated debate inside the Bundestag, a majority of legislators voted to reform Germany’s Infection Protection Act.

The bill, spearheaded by Chancellor Merkel’s governing coalition, aims to give pandemic restrictions more of a legal framework, making it easier for the government to impose coronavirus rules.

But critics from the Left Party, Die Linke, and the pro-business Free Democratic Party, say the law encroaches on people’s basic freedoms.

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Due to the pandemic, Berlin’s 86th Green Week in January will take place entirely online.

In a normal year, some 400,000 people would attend the 10-day fair where international ministries and food producers showcase the latest trends in food, agriculture and horticulture.

But next year, lectures, panel discussions and press conferences will be broadcast live across just two days — January 20 and 21.

Event organizers had already started preparing for a hybrid online and in-person event back in August. But the high number of coronavirus cases resulted in the decision to go completely digital.

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The nonprofit food bank Berliner Tafel has started its annual donation campaign for the needy.

The initiative is run in cooperation with the company MyPlace-SelfStorage.

Under the motto “Passing on Christmas Joy,” the companies are asking for packaged food and drugstore items, as well as school materials and toys.

Sabine Werth, the founder of Berliner Tafel, encourages Berliners to send a signal of solidarity to those who are struggling most during the pandemic.

Donations will be accepted until Dec. 13 at drop-off stations across the city.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.  

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