Lateral thinkers attack police officers – hundreds of arrests

Officials were attacked and injured during protests by so-called lateral thinkers in Berlin. Most of the rallies had previously been banned. The police struggled to keep track of the situation.

Despite the ban on various demonstrations, around 5,000 people gathered in Berlin on Sunday to protest against the Corona measures. Among other things, on Facebook, so-called lateral thinkers had called in an “emergency plan” to nevertheless make their way to Berlin.

In the morning officials had to break up a car parade on Olympic Square. In the meantime, the situation was very confusing because the demonstrators met in several places across the city. Participants in the protest marches tried again and again to break through police barriers. There have been injuries and hundreds of arrests.

Several protest marches formed in the Charlottenburg district, among other places. Barriers were ignored and partially overrun and emergency services were attacked, the police said. Demonstrators tried to break the police chain and pull officers out. “Here physical violence had to be used,” said a police spokeswoman on Sunday morning.

Police officers stand between demonstrators in Berlin: Although the demonstrations were banned, people have gathered to protest against the Corona measures. (Source: Fabian Sommer / dpa)

Man collapses and later dies

During the “lateral thinker” demonstrations in Berlin, a man collapsed and then died in a hospital. A police spokesman confirmed to the German press agency early on Monday morning that the 49-year-old had been a participant in the protests. The man complained of a tingling sensation in his arm and chest in the course of an identity check at the demonstration on Sunday afternoon.

Initial measures were taken immediately by police forces until an alarmed ambulance immediately took care of the supply. The man died in a hospital. According to the legal practice, a death investigation had been initiated.

Helicopters and water cannons in action

The police threatened with a water cannon at the Großer Stern. After three loudspeaker announcements, the meeting broke up there, it was said. In tussles between demonstrators and the police, pepper spray was repeatedly used on and around the Kaiserdamm.

In order to get the confusing situation under control, helicopters have been circling over the city center since noon, as the police announced via Twitter. This should give the operations management a better picture.

Aggressive mood in Schöneberg too

The demonstrators later moved to the Schöneberg and Kreuzberg districts. As a t-online reporter observed, no police could be seen there for a long time. The demonstrators were drumming around trying to motivate walkers and local residents to join them. On banners they demanded, for example, “an end to the corona dictatorship” or “no test: no pandemic” or denied the existence of the corona virus.

Alexanderplatz on Sunday evening: A few hundred police officers are here "Lateral thinkers" opposite to. There are riots. (Source: Daniel Mützel)Alexanderplatz on Sunday evening: a few police officers face a few hundred “lateral thinkers” here. There are riots. (Source: Daniel Mützel)

Since the lanes in the area were not initially closed to protest marches, the police warned residents to be careful. Nonetheless, sometimes chaotic situations arose because cars got into the demonstrators’ trains and did not initially get out.

There, too, the mood threatened to change for a short time. Officials used pepper spray against demonstrators who tried to storm a blocked bridge over the Landwehr Canal. What the protesters did not succeed, however.

According to reports from the “Tagesspiegel”, on the sidelines of the protests in Kreuzberg, Jörg Reichel, the regional manager of the German Union of Journalists in Verdi, was dragged from his bicycle and beaten up by rally participants. Only through the intervention of passers-by had worse been prevented. The unionist came to the hospital with injuries.

Demonstrators make their way through Schöneberg without police. (Source: Daniel Mützel)Demonstrators make their way through Schöneberg without police. (Source: Daniel Mützel)

In the evening, demonstrators then gathered at Alexanderplatz in the Mitte district. As in the other places, the mood was irritable. Clashes broke out between protesters and the police. Several people were arrested. Even in the pleasure garden there should have been scuffles between police officers and demonstrators in the evening.

Hundreds of arrests, police officers injured

According to a police spokesman, nearly 600 people were arrested or temporarily detained during the protests to record personal details. Participation in a prohibited meeting is an administrative offense that can be punished with a fine of up to 1,000 euros, it was emphasized.

Police officers were also injured, the police spokesman said – but he did not give an exact number or other details. The “aggression potential” varied. In total, the police were on duty with more than 2,200 police officers.

“We have prepared for a very exhausting mission this entire weekend,” said the spokesman. When asked about the tactics of the police and why people had managed to gather, he said: The police are required to act with a sense of proportion. “We cannot now arbitrarily control every person, for example on Pariser Platz.” People also moved out of tourist hotspots and came together in hundreds. The police dispersed them again.

Demonstrators make their way through Schöneberg without police. (Source: Daniel Mützel)Demonstrators make their way through Schöneberg without police. (Source: Daniel Mützel)

More than 20,000 participants announced

The Berlin police had banned several demonstrations for this weekend because they feared violations of the hygiene requirements. One of them was a rally by the initiative “lateral thinking 711” from Stuttgart, which originally had 22,500 participants registered for Sunday afternoon. The Berlin-Brandenburg Higher Administrative Court confirmed the ban late on Saturday evening.