A large group of demonstrators took to the streets in the German city of Schweinfurt on Sunday to protest against government-imposed CCP virus measures.
The protest, which German authorities said was not authorized, ended in clashes between police and “numerous rioters” who mingled themselves with a mass of peaceful protesters to stir up the crowd, the Lower Franconia Police Headquarters (LFPH) said in a statement.
Police said they encountered a “heated, sometimes hostile” atmosphere. A total of eight emergency service officers got injured—including some moderately severe after several people in the crowd started punching and kicking police.
The clashes resulted in at least eight arrests, of which already four people were brought to the main hearing early on Monday as part of an accelerated trial for resisting and assaulting law enforcement officers.
Judgments against the three men and one woman are expected later on Monday, police said, adding that officials also initiated administrative offense proceedings against 44 people.
According to the LFPH, several hundred people gathered around 6 p.m. local time to voice their concern against CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus measures. Several German media outlets, citing police in Schweinfurt, said about 2,500 people took to the streets on Sunday during the unannounced demonstration.
Batons and pepper spray were used against some among the group of protesters after they didn’t comply with orders.
“At the start of the demonstration, police informed the participants via loudspeaker about restrictions in the form of mask requirements [and] a social-distancing requirement,” the LFPH said in the press release, noting that “several aggressors” didn’t comply with the order and instead attempted to break through barriers placed by police.
During these clashes, a 4-year-old child was caught in a cloud of pepper spray after his mother tried to break through the cordon and a 50-year-old man required hospital treatment after suffering a head laceration.
The child was briefly treated by medical services at the scene, police said. After personnel washed the eyes of the child, the toddler was completely symptom-free again. A complaint was made against the mother and the youth welfare office has been informed.
Sunday’s demonstration comes days before the German government is set to implement stricter rules on its citizens. Starting on Tuesday, people who chose not to get vaccinated against the CCP virus can only meet in groups of two, while those vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19 can meet each other in groups of 10.
According to government data, roughly 70 percent of the country has been “fully vaccinated,” while another 3 percent is “partly vaccinated.”
In recent weeks, Schweinfurt has seen large demonstrations that involved thousands of people echoing concerns over the regulations. On Dec. 19, about 3,000 people took to the streets and several days before that, up to 1,200 protesters gathered in the city without giving any notice to officials.
Other places in Germany has seen similar large-scale events, including in Munich, where about 5,000 people took part in a demonstration last week. In the course of the evening, Munich officials arrested 11 people, according to German media.