A massive crowd gathered in the center of the German city of Leipzig on Saturday to demand the lifting of restrictions introduced by the authorities to stem the rapid spread of coronavirus.

According to estimates by local media, some 19,000 people flocked to the central Augustusplatz to demonstrate against the new partial lockdown rules.

BREAKING – Massive protests underway in #Leipzig (Germany) opposing the new #COVID19

The rally was sanctioned by the city on condition that the participants wore masks and maintained social distancing. However, almost nobody in the crowd followed those guidelines.

The people chanted slogans and carried banners decrying the lockdown, and called for it to be lifted immediately.

Die Demo wurde offiziell beendet, weil gegen Auflagen verstoßen wurde. Das passiert jetzt: Die Querdenker marschieren fröhlich, ohne Abstände, ohne Maske. Die Polizei sieht zu.

Some placards showed German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Interior Minister Horst Lorenz Seehofer, US tech billionaire Bill Gates, and other prominent figures wearing prison robes. The protesters insist that those are the people who are “guilty” of imposing global lockdowns and behind what they believe is a coronavirus conspiracy.  

Members of several right-wing groups have also reportedly been spotted in the crowd demonstrators. While the rally has been mostly peaceful so far, photos from the scene show police making arrests.

Es wird unruhig in Leipzig. 14:00 Uhr, Grimmaischer Steinweg.

Germany has so far recorded more than 654,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and over 11,000 deaths, and went into a new partial lockdown on November 2. Restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas, and gyms have been forced to close for a month, with private gatherings limited to 10 people from no more than two households.

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