BERLIN—Approximately 20,000 people took part in a protest in Germany’s capital, Berlin, on Saturday, August 1 to voice out against coronavirus restrictions implemented by the country. Groups of protesters ignored physical distancing and did not wearing masks as they marched and chanted.

18 officers were injured and three were sent to the hospital due to injuries from the rally, according to Berlin Police via Twitter. About 1,100 officers were deployed to monitor and break up the crowds throughout the event. “We wish our colleagues a speedy recovery,” the Berlin Police said further.

In a series of posts from the day, the police also mentioned that officers kept asking people to leave former rally sites, and were taken away if they refused to leave and acknowledge warnings. They also advised citizens to move away quickly from the rally spots while they attempted to prevent new groups from forming. Berlin Police also mentioned that pyrotechnics were ignited and thrown at some of their teams.

“Thousands of covidiots celebrate themselves in Berlin as ‘the second wave’, without distancing, without a mask. They not only endanger our health, they endanger our successes against the pandemic and for the revitalization of the economy, education and society. Irresponsible!” Saskia Esken, one of two party leaders of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, said.

“Anti-Mask protests in #Berlin. I am ashamed of my country right now.” Photo courtesy of @savageinrl via Twitter.

In response to the protest, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn said on Twitter, “yes, demonstrations must also be possible in #Corona times. But not like this. Distance, hygiene rules, and everyday masks serve to protect all of us; so we treat each other with respect and appreciate the waiver of so many in this pandemic.”

“The #Covid19 pandemic we will overcome only with reason, perseverance, and team spirit. The more responsibly we all deal with each other in everyday life, the more normality is possible despite Corona.”

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI)’s COVID-19 Daily Situation Report for August 1, 2020, Germany has 955 new Coronavirus cases and seven more deaths. The country has a total of 209,653 cases, 9,148 deaths, and approximately 192,700 recovered individuals as of August 1.

A statement from the Daily Situation Report reads:

“The number of new cases reported daily has been increasing since last week. This development is very concerning and will continue to be monitored very closely by the RKI. A further worsening of the situation must be avoided. This will only succeed if the entire population continues to be committed to decreasing transmission, e.g. by consistently observing rules of distance and hygiene – also in outdoor settings -, by airing indoor areas and, where necessary, wearing a community or face mask correctly.”

The Robert Koch Institute is a federal institute in the division of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health. It is the central institution of the federal government in the field of disease monitoring and prevention.