Coronavirus protesters attack police in Leipzig

German police said demonstrators protesting coronavirus restrictions attacked them in the city of Leipzig Saturday, after the crowd was told to disperse.

Coronavirus protesters attack police in Leipzig
Some of those who joined the Leipzig protest organised by the "Querdenken" group attacked police. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP
“There were numerous attacks against security forces,” police tweeted while media broadcast images of projectiles and fireworks thrown at police who had established a security cordon near the city's main train station.
The crowd in the eastern German city was estimated to number around 20,000 and German media reported that some of those who clashed with police were members of far-right groups.
Some of the protesters also attacked journalists and people taking part in a counter-demonstration in Leipzig, a large student city.
The police were out in force and made several arrests but the clashes continued into the evening.
But ignoring the dispersal orders, hundreds of people marched up one of Leipzig's main streets shouting “Merkel must go!” and “peace, freedom, no dictatorship”, according to the German news agency DPA.
Municipal authorities said the protesters had infringed the conditions under which they were allowed to hold their demonstration.
To curb the coronavirus spike in Germany, Europe's biggest economy, Chancellor Angela Merkel has appealed to people to help achieve a “turnaround” by respecting a new round of shutdowns until the end of the month.
Germany recorded a record 23,000 new virus cases on Saturday. The total number of Covid-19-related deaths stood at 11,226.
 'Collateral damage'
Under the new measures, Germans will not be confined to their homes, but bars, cafes and restaurants must close, as well as theatres, opera houses and cinemas.
Looking ahead to the festive season, Merkel has ruled out any “lavish New Year's Eve parties”, but held out hope that families will be able to celebrate Christmas together.
In Leipzig, protester Robert Koehn, 39, called the anti-virus measures “disproportionate”.
“I simply see the collateral damage that these measures cause: the isolation of people, the bankruptcy that threatens them”, he said.
Fellow protester Anne, 65, said that “for me there is no virus, they cite the coronavirus crisis as a motive, but there are other things behind this”.
Organisers of the protest called for “the immediate lifting of restrictions to fundamental rights” arising from measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus.
Police ordered the demonstrators several times to respect a distance of 1.5 metres (yards) from each other and to wear protective masks.
According to the regional public television MDR, flags recalling the German “Reich” or empire that collapsed after World War I were waved by some protesters, and members of the neo-Nazi group NPD were reportedly seen in the crowd.
Saxony, the state where Leipzig is located, is considered a stronghold of far-right German nationalists, but the rally organisers consider themselves “free-thinkers” representing a range of political and social movements.
The demonstrators are closely tracked by German authorities, especially since several hundred protesters forced their way past police barriers and onto the steps of the national parliament in late August. 

Member comments

  1. They are lying. Provocateurs from this Fascist government are trying to turn the people against one another. Don’t fall for the lies.

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EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

Due to high Covid infection numbers throughout the summer, it’s now possible to get a sick note from a doctor over the phone again for some illnesses. Here’s what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: The new rules around getting a sick note over the phone in Germany

What’s happened?

In spring 2020, German authorities changed the law so that people with a mild upper respiratory tract illness, such as the common cold, were able to get an incapacity to work certificate or AU-Bescheinigung by simply calling and speaking to their GP.

The rule was extended several times and finally reversed on June 1st this year due to falling infection figures. Since then people have had to go back to the practice – or do a video call if the doctor’s office has that system in place – to get a sick note.

Now, due to a decision by the Joint Federal Committee, the regulation has been reintroduced and patients can call their GP again for a sick note.

Can I get a sick note over the phone for any illness?

No. As before, the regulation only applies to patients suffering from a mild upper respiratory tract illness. Though Covid has not explicitly been named in the announcement, it seems that it is intended to be covered by the regulation.

If the doctor is convinced that the patient is unfit for work after a telephone consultation, then they can issue a sick note for up to seven days.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The changes around doctor’s notes in Germany you should know

If the symptoms persist after seven days, the certificate can be extended once more for another week.

Why now?

According to the Chairman of the G-BA, Josef Hecken, the regulation has been introduced now as a response to rising Covid numbers and in anticipation of the cold and flu season in the coming months: “We want to avoid full waiting rooms in doctors’ offices and the emergence of new infection chains,” he said.

The telephone sick leave rule is a simple, proven and uniform nationwide solution for that, he said. The rule is also necessary because video consultation hours are not yet available everywhere.

What else should I know?

The health insurer DAK is calling for telephone sick leave in the case of light respiratory diseases to be made possible on a permanent basis in Germany. DAK’s CEO Andreas Storm said that this should “not always be up for debate, because it has proven itself.” 

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about making a doctor’s appointment in Germany

The social association VdK also welcomed the reintroduction of the rule. The VdK’s President Verena Bentele said that the regulation would help to protect high-risk groups in particular from potential infections.

What are the rules to know about sick notes in Germany?

Germany has a strict system in place. If you are sick, you need to give your employer a Krankmeldung (notification of sickness) before the start of work on the first day (of your illness).

However, you also need to hand in a Krankschreibung (doctor’s note) on the fourth day of your illness. Some employments contracts, however, require you to submit a sick not earlier than the fourth day so check with your boss or HR on that point.