With races, smoke boats and police raids, illegal parties in the parks of Berlin are ending since the city-state has imposed a partial curfew to stop the spread of the covid.
With no masks or safety distance, several hundred young people swirl in a relaxed way in groups in Gleisdreieck Park at sunset, some with music, many with beers, taking advantage of the more pleasant temperatures of the first days of spring and the Easter holidays.
Then several police vans appear and almost a hundred agents burst into the park to disband the groups. Many young people run, others confront the security forces “very aggressively”, according to the Berlin Police.
The scene, which Efe witnessed, ends with shouting and insults, throwing bottles and stones at the agents, the use of smoke canisters, several wounded – on both sides – and the identification of eleven young people, some minors.
The police reported an attack with a fire extinguisher in which four officers were affected with respiratory problems and eye irritations.
“There were problems: some of the boys began to fight, some did not want to leave and the police are there with their helmets dispersing them,” explains Federico, a casual witness to the events.
A young woman who preferred not to identify herself criticized the police action: “It makes me angry that all this is happening, but we are very tired of the restrictions. Also, we are on the street, at least we are not in closed apartments or at clandestine parties.”
It is not a specific event. This is the second time that the police intervened in that park. On Wednesday evening, more than 2,500 people according to police gathered there without complying with the restrictions.
“It is the first time since the summer in which I see so many people together”, explained on Wednesday to Efe Pau, a Catalan Erasmus student who was in that park.
The Gleisdreick case is not unique. Similar scenes have taken place in recent days in many other parts of Berlin and across the country. In Munich, for example, the police had to act this Thursday in a square where about 400 people had gathered with folding tables, alcohol and music.
These events coincide with the entry into force in Berlin and other German cities of more restrictions to stop the pandemic. In the capital, for example, a partial curfew has been introduced that limits the number of people who can meet outdoors between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. to two.
In addition, the nurseries are closed except for the children of essential workers and, as of Easter Tuesday, outdoor meetings of more than two people are prohibited – if they are not living together – and night visits will not be allowed indoors.
EMERGENCY BRAKE IN THE EVENT OF FLASH
Germany, as recognized by its Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, is “in the middle of the third wave.”
This Saturday there was a slight decrease in the weekly incidence of infections – the average in Germany 131.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to the 134 reported on Friday. But it is a long way from the containment achieved between the end of January and February, when it had dropped to 60 weekly cases.
That then determined the authorities to contemplate a timid reopening. But given the continued upturn since March began, the so-called “emergency brake” was activated again -considered from 100 weekly cases per 100,000 inhabitants-, due to the impatience and frustration of many citizens.
Restaurants, leisure and culture were closed in November, to which non-essential shops were added in December. Since then, the minimal reopening only served to reopen hairdressers, museums and garden centers, while some shops in Berlin are welcoming customers again, although only by appointment or by presenting an antigen test.
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