Coronavirus Lockdown Protests Erupt All Across the EU and UK

By Author: Prakash Gogoi
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TOPSHOT - A man gestures and takes a selfie during a protest against the restrictions imposed by the government as part of lockdown measures in Lyon on November 23, 2020. - Shop owners, restaurants owners and night clubs owners protest to call for the reopening of their stores closed as activity has ceased in their sector over coronavirus restrictions, during a national lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.

As several countries continue with lockdown restrictions amidst the coronavirus pandemic, strong public opposition has risen against these measures. In Europe and the UK, several protests have erupted against government-mandated restrictions, with some even turning violent. Government restrictions have also been legally challenged. 

Germany

The “Querdenken (Anticonformist)” movement that opposes social restrictions recently held a protest march to Stuttgart. Both left and right-wing groups supported the protest. ‘End the Dictatorship of Covid,’ said some banners. One protesters stated that she did not believe the official data on coronavirus infections and related deaths.

German-American lawyer Dr. Reiner Fullmich’s Corona Committee is gathering testimonies from almost 100 well-known scientists, psychologists, lawyers, physicians, and economists. He plans to use the material for a major class-action suit against the country’s medical and political establishment for implementing extremely restrictive coronavirus measures. 

Finland

A government attempt to strengthen lockdown policies was overruled by the Parliamentary Constitutional Law Committee which stated that the proposal to ban movement was “completely disproportional.” PM Sanna Martin had suggested imposing a partial lockdown in areas that had high coronavirus infection levels. Former PM Antii Rinne, chair of the committee, noted that the lockdowns went against “the meaning of the constitution.”

Romania

Compared with other European nations, Romania’s restrictions are fairly moderate. Even so, anti-restriction protesters attacked policemen in the capital on March 30. The unrest was due to a recently installed curfew aimed at curbing the spread of the CCP Virus. Around 200 demonstrators were arrested and at least 12 policemen are known to be injured. In the town of Bacau, a group of protesters occupied a hospital forecourt, calling nurses and doctors “assassins.” 

Slovenia

In Slovenia, hundreds of people gathered in front of the Presidential Palace, speaking out against their third lockdown restrictions, effective April 1 until April 11. Many called the restrictions bizarre and irrational. The protesters demanded the Constitutional Court to review requests regarding the restrictions.

Belgium

A court in Brussels has ordered the government to revoke all coronavirus restrictions within 30 days. The decision was taken as part of a lawsuit filed by the League for Human Rights which challenged the government’s use of a Ministerial Decree without getting any input from the parliament. The court observed that the restrictions were imposed without a proper legal basis.

An anti-lockdown protest at Queen's Park April 25 last year attracted about 200 who claimed measures to control the spread of COVID-19 are an infringement of freedom. Protests are becoming more common across Europe with growing discontent over the lengthy disruption to normal life.
An anti-lockdown protest at Queen’s Park April 25 last year attracted about 200 who claimed measures to control the spread of COVID-19 are an infringement of freedom. Protests are becoming more common across Europe with growing discontent over the lengthy disruption to normal life.  (Image: michael_swan via Flickr CC0 1.0)

Health worries

Many lockdown protesters are also concerned about the negative impact restrictions have on general health. Kristen Nagle, a nurse from London, explained that the human immune system is designed to always be in contact with the environment and record new pathogens

She worries that a year of hand-washing, isolation, masking, and social distancing will result in an underworked immune system. Under such conditions, the first post pandemic flu could be worse than ever before. One study on the effects of lockdown on humans also found that their decision-making abilities were impaired. 

“Very difficult choices were made without taking into account the social cost involved. They only took into account a single, short-term perspective. And now we know that four out of ten people were at risk of suffering mental health-related illnesses as a result of the shock produced by this pandemic. All this will have implications in the medium term,” researcher Francisco Lupianez said in a statement.

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