Thousands flout pandemic restrictions for May Day rally in Berlin

Berlin, May 1 (EFE).- Tens of thousands of people took part in protests in Berlin on Saturday to mark the first of May, the international day for labor rights.

May Day in Germany is traditionally marked by largely left-wing protests, especially in the capital, where they often turn violent.

But this year, both left and right-wingers were expected to descend on the German capital to protest restrictions in place to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Police braced themselves for large crowds and had a heavy deployment of 5,000 officers among other security measures, although the day has panned out relatively calmly so far, Berlin police spokesperson Thilo Cablitz said. By midday, only 59 complaints had been filed, mostly for non-compliance with pandemic measures.

The focus of this year’s demonstrations is housing issues, with the main rally starting at 5pm, which police expect some 10,000 people to attend.

The traditional street and park festivals, with booths, food and musical performances, did not take place for the second consecutive year. The pandemic has forced the organizers to use their imagination to bring their demands to the streets in compliance with the restrictions.

In Berlin, some 10,000 people took part in the bicycle marches through Berlin, and in some cities drive-ins were organized to attend virtual rallies.

The trade unions, in a scaled-down version of their traditional rallies and a series of performances broadcast live on the Internet, focused their message this year on “solidarity” among workers during and after the pandemic. EFE


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