The Striezelmarkt in Dresden, Germany, is considered the first genuine Christmas market in the world. By LH DD/Dittrich – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Carl Friis-Hansen; Protestors in Germany have accused the state of endangering citizens rights, by granting the German executive sweeping powers to shut premises or impose curfews to control Covid-19 outbreaks. But advocates claim the law requires greater oversight of Covid-19 lockdown decisions, and provides special protection for cultural events.

Police break up large Berlin protests as Germany passes tougher coronavirus laws

Large crowds protested in Berlin against the German government’s push to enshrine coronavirus restrictions into an existing law. Police intervened as the crowds sought to approach the parliament.

“Police calling on demonstrators to leave. Lots of booing. Demonstrators want to access cordoned-off area around parliament where new additions to infection law are being debated [at the moment,],” DW’s Nina Haase reported from the scene. 

A tense standoff ensued, as police tried to convince the crowd to disperse amid cries of “We are the people!” and as some protesters started singing the national anthem. 

What do the new rules entail?

Germany’s lower and upper houses passed changes to Germany’s existing infection protection law, catering more specifically to the coronavirus pandemic. The new measures will enable the government to impose restrictions on social contact, rules on mask-wearing, drinking alcohol in public, shutting shops and stopping sports events. 

Demonstrators who took part in the Wednesday protests did not actively wear masks or socially distance. But one participant wore a face mask with the words “Merkel-Muzzle,” while others held banners with slogans such as “For Enlightenment. Peace and Freedom.” 

Critics say the coronavirus laws would give the government too much power and endanger citizens’civil rights. 

The right-wing populist AfD has even gone as far comparing the proposed measures with the Enabling Act of 1933 that paved the way towards Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship, particularly in its social media postings. A senior AfD member, Bernd Baumann, drew the same parallel in the Bundestag.

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/police-break-up-large-berlin-protests-as-germany-passes-tougher-coronavirus-laws/a-55644706

The German art community seems happy about the new laws. A leading arts advocate claims the new laws for the first time recognise cultural events as being distinct from art exhibitions.

German Infection law: A new legal status for culture

Date 19.11.2020
Author Dagmar Breitenbach

Under Germany’s infection protection law, culture is no longer classified as entertainment. Canceling arts events in the pandemic might become difficult.

In Germany’s recently passed Infection Protection Law, culture now has an enhanced legal status as the government fights the coronavirus pandemic by restricting certain fundamental rights enshrined in the German constitution. Previously, decrees were used to meet the crisis — including the weeks-long closure of theaters, concert halls, museums and other venues and the blanket ban of most arts and entertainment events in the Spring, and again in November 2020.

‘Good thing:’ New status for culture

The German Culture Council has welcomed the change to the legislation that now gives culture a special status.

Read more: https://www.dw.com/en/german-infection-law-a-new-legal-status-for-culture/a-55660182

What a mess. If I have understood correctly, under the new laws you might be arbitrarily banned from visiting your family at Christmas or even be required to self isolate by remaining indoors at home, but in the middle of all this lockdown mania you could still be granted a special pass to attend cultural events like Oktoberfest or a visit to Germany’s famous Christmas markets, because major cultural events now enjoy special privileges.

Note: Comments which use the name “Hitler” in the text of the comments will be automatically trashed.

Eric Worrall / 1 hour ago November 21, 2020

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