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NEWS

Short Update: Debate over banning demonstrations in Germany

FT Admin - August 5, 2020 - COVID-19 Updates, Rule of Law, Surveillance

Protests against measures to limit spread of COVID-19 in Berlin last weekend, have triggered a debate about the right to demonstrate. Many of the demonstrators ignored current distancing rules.

The Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Stephan Mayer, called for a more restrictive approach to public gatherings. The CSU politician stated that the right to demonstrate and the freedom of expression were "high, unalterable basic rights guaranteed to all citiziens. But only to the extent that the rights of third parties or public safety are not significantly violated. The observance of hygiene rules must continue to have the highest priority."

The Deputy Chairman of the Police Union, Jörg Radek said: "The authorities have to be more sensitive when it comes to approving such demonstration", and called on politicians to set guidelines.

But the Federal Minister of Justice, Christine Lambrecht, opposed calls to ban demonstrations, saying: "I think it is very important that demonstrations can take place again and that people can freely and publicly express their opinions, including on the federal government's current corona policy."  However, she said the deliberate violation of Corona regulations were "unacceptable" and that COVID-19 regulations should be consistently applied at all demonstrations. (Read the tagesschau.de press article in German).

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