The police had encircled participants in a spontaneous meeting of opponents of the corona policy withdrawn. According to a local dpa reporter, several hundred people moved in small groups from Fleischergasse towards the market on Saturday evening. Masks were only worn sporadically by the people in the groups. The police had previously asked the demonstrators several times to leave the square in small groups.
However, since there were gatherings of counter-protestors in the adjacent streets, the police finally paved a way, said a police spokesman. In small groups, people could then have left the market to the train station. Left-wing MPs criticized Twitter for not determining their identity. The police spokesman said there had been identity checks.
In downtown Leipzig, numerous people gathered again on Saturday to protest against the federal government’s corona policy. At the same time, several counter-protests formed.
The action network “Leipzig takes a seat” called for a protest and has registered rallies at three central locations in the city. On Kurt-Masur-Platz, opponents of the Corona policy had registered the meeting “Life after Corona” with 500 participants. First, the police said that this approved number was reached around 3 p.m. in the afternoon.
Shortly afterwards, anyone wishing to attend the meeting was asked to leave the area peacefully. Because: The registration was withdrawn by the chairman of the meeting. The reason: The meeting registrant had submitted an incomplete certificate for the mask exemption, which was not accepted by the assembly authorities.
After the cancellation, the situation in Leipzig was confusing. In the city center, opposing camps kept clashing, as the police announced on Twitter in the afternoon. “Our emergency services separate the groups of people,” it said. According to the information, there were also attacks on police forces.
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Shortly after the cancellation of one demonstration, two unauthorized spontaneous meetings formed in the downtown area. The police asked the people to leave the respective areas, otherwise they would be forced to determine their personal details. According to the police, there were still two protest camps facing each other in the area of Große Fleischergasse at 6 p.m. The police tried to stop them from meeting.
According to a dpa reporter on site, a spontaneous anti-fascist demonstration with around 200 participants took place in the city center in the afternoon. Another meeting of the left-wing camp near the St. Thomas Church was surrounded by the police shortly afterwards.
Leipzig’s Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung spoke of a “cat and mouse game”. There is a tense situation that the police have well under control, said the SPD politician. “We have the chance that it will stay calm.”
Jung appealed to the people to remain peaceful. He also assessed the cancellation of the planned demonstration by opponents of the Corona measures as a success of the counter-demonstrators. “One can rightly be proud that more than 1000 people demonstrated peacefully, at a distance and with breathing protection,” he said.
According to Jung, there were also “travel movements” from Thuringia to the rally that was then canceled. According to the politician, several right-wing extremists had gathered at the main station, including hooligans and supporters of comradeships. Half of them left again. After observing a dpa reporter on site, a spontaneous anti-fascist demonstration with around 200 participants also took place in the city center in the afternoon.
The police expected a total of four-digit numbers of participants on Saturday. “But that is difficult to assess – it is very uncertain what is coming,” said the police spokesman. Between 12 and 8 p.m., no individual traffic was allowed around Kurt-Masur-Platz, the Saxony police said.
The police were deployed with a large contingent from several federal states, they brought water cannons and clearing tanks into position near the demonstration. The officers also used barriers to separate the gatherings from each other. The situation is not easy, said a police spokesman.
Since 8 a.m., the city center has been a controlled area, as a police spokesman said. Unprompted personal checks can therefore take place there until evening. The German Association of Journalists in Saxony welcomed in the social networks that journalists can take advantage of police protection after the recent attacks on site.
A total of eight meetings were announced at various locations in the trade fair city on Saturday, five of which were in connection with criticism of the current Corona policy and counter-protests.
Two weeks ago, protests escalated in Leipzig
Currently, due to the corona situation, only a maximum of 1000 participants are allowed per rally in Saxony. In the afternoon, the police and the city once again expressly pointed out that the hygiene rules within the meaning of the Corona Protection Ordinance were observed. Because of this, meetings are only permitted in a stationary manner and not as an elevator.
According to the assessment of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Saxony, there was mobilization in the run-up to the demonstrations in both right-wing extremist and left-wing extremist camps. The city and the police had announced that they would consistently punish any violations of the Corona rules. Two weeks ago, during a “lateral thinking” demonstration in Leipzig, there were massive violations of the mask requirement and violent clashes. Registered demonstrations against Corona requirements also took place on Saturday in Berlin, Bochum, Göppingen, Pforzheim and Hanover. (Tsp, dpa)