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Angela Merkel was told to brace for yet another mass protest against her coronavirus measures as organisers urged demonstrators to head to Berlin in spite of a new ban on mass gatherings. The German Government has been trying to contain the spread of COVID-19 after a resurgence of cases across the country but protesters have denounced the safety measures as a limitation to their civil liberties. DW News correspondent Nina Haas warned Chancellor Merkel can expect a new demonstration this weekend as organisers have continued to urge protesters to head to Berlin to voice their frustration.
Ms Haas said: “Several groups are already mobilising supporters online to still come to Berlin, this weekend.
“They use chat services like Telegram so it’s quite easy to follow their conversation, and they’re saying that it’s important to send a message, not accept this ban and still go to Berlin.
“Of course, this is something where authorities are alert and the organisers have announced several thousands of people would come again.
“So it is going to be an exciting couple of days.”
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Berlin Senator of the Interior Andreas Geisel warned demonstrators to expect a robust police crackdown should they chose to ignore the ban on Saturday.
Ms Haas continued: “The Berlin Senator for the Interior has already announced said that this time around the police will act decisively and rigorously and not tolerate any violation of existing hygiene rules.
“They will break up those mass gatherings if they happen despite the ban.
“The Senator justified the ban saying this is not an attack on the freedom of assembly, this is a decision in favour of protecting public health.”
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Germany on Thursday confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 1,507 over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 237,936.
Germany has been slowly coming out of lockdown but scientists have warned the public has grown more careless after seeing the initial number of cases fall.
The co-leader of the Social Democrats Saskia Esken warned failure to comply with social distancing and hygiene rules could result in a new total lockdown.
Ms Esken told the Frankfurter Allgemeine: “We must not risk that day care centres and schools will close again and that children are forced to remain at home for weeks because we have accepted higher infection rates due to lax rules at family parties.”
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Chancellor Merkel was scheduled to meet with state premiers on Thursday to determine the next step to ensure the virus returns under control.
Ms Merkel earlier this week warned Germany must continue to follow the current rules or face the reintroduction of more restrictive measures.
The Chancellor said: “The good news is if we stick to the rules, a lot of public life is possible.
“If the numbers go back down, we can open up more.
“If they don’t, or rise, we must ask what is needed and in any case a further easing of measures cannot take place now.”
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