German ministers condemn violence at Leipzig anti-mask protest

German ministers and other senior officials on Sunday condemned the violence that broke out in eastern city Leipzig at a demonstration against coronavirus infection control measures

German ministers condemn violence at Leipzig anti-mask protest
Participants hold placards during a protests organised by the Querdenken organisation. Photo: John Macdougall / AFP
“Nothing can justify what was seen in Leipzig,” Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“The mockery of science and the far-right incitement we've seen are appalling,” she added, condemning attacks on police and the press.
More than 20,000 people, most of them unmasked, gathered in the Saxon city on Saturday, and many refused a police order to disperse after ignoring requests to wear face coverings and keep a distance of 1.5 metres between participants.
Rather than leave, demonstrators set off on a march down one of the city's major streets, attacking police and journalists and throwing objects including fireworks, police said.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said those “endangering fellow people, attacking police and journalists, spreading extreme-right hate and setting alight barricades at counter-demonstrations have left the protection” for protest guaranteed under Germany's constitution.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert did not comment directly on the violence, but recalled that demonstrators are bound by infection control measures.
Violence continued into the evening in Leipzig, and a police spokesman told AFP there had been “arrests”.
Germany has in recent days hit new records for coronavirus infections above 23,000 in a single day, while the number of dead since the pandemic began has mounted to 11,226.
Unlike some European neighbours like France, the country has not ordered a nationwide lockdown.
But the discipline most Germans have shown so far in following government-ordered measures has been tinged with discontent in some quarters.

Member comments

  1. I almost hope some of the demonstrators catch the disease and suffer! However, they would need to be cared for by health workers, an unnecessary and preventable use of resources.

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Is Leipzig really Germany’s ‘ultimate travel destination’?

The Saxonian city of Leipzig has been named by traveller’s bible Lonely Planet as its “ultimate” travel tip for Germany. Does the Local Germany’s knowledgeable readership agree?

The city centre of Leipzig.
The city centre of Leipzig. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild

Long a cult favourite among Germany fans, the left-wing city of Leipzig appears to now be gaining mainstream recognition after the Lonely Planet crowned it the country’s top travel destination this week.

In a new book titled “Ultimate German Travel Destinations – the top 250”, the travel publisher put Leipzig ahead of picturesque getaways such as Lake Constance and the Zugspitze as its number one destination.

“The hype that some say surrounds the city isn’t hype t all: Leipzig really is hipper than Berlin, and hotter than Munich, especially among millennials,” the guidebook boldly claims.

It goes on to lavish praise on the city of 600,000 inhabitants as “young, exciting, multifaceted – sometimes colourful, sometimes grey – and with a vibrant liveliness.”

“Everyone wants to go to the city where the anti-GDR demonstrations started,” the guidebook continues. “It is the home of Auerbachs Keller (made famous by Goethe and Faust); it’s the city of street art and wave gothic festivals; and its artistic scene at the Baumwollspinnerei is second to none.”

READ ALSO: A love letter to the eastern German city of Leipzig

‘Not cooler than Berlin’

Reaction to the list among the Local’s readership was mixed.

“It is a beautiful city and it’s easy to navigate. I find it hard to say that it’s cooler than Berlin, though. Berlin simply has more,” one reader told us on Facebook. “It’s the kind of place where people find their ‘spot.” I think most people in Leipzig know about most places in Leipzig. It’s a much smaller city. That may just be a more favourable lifestyle for some.”

Praise for Saxony’s biggest city ranged from admiration for the beauty of its architecture (particularly its train station) to the vibrancy of its arts scene.

Others suggested that Leipzig is indeed overhyped and that it can’t compete with natural wonders such as the pristine Königssee in the Bavarian Alps.

Lake Constance wins silver

Lake Constance, the country’s largest body of fresh water, came in second on the list.

The authors praised the southern See, which borders Switzerland and Austria, for “the many beautiful spots on its shores: Lindau, Meersburg, Überlingen, Constance and more – often surrounded by lush orchards.”

A regatta on the Bodensee in September 2021. Photo: dpa | Felix Kästle 

Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie concert hall came in third. 

“It’s impossible to imagine the Hanseatic city’s skyline without this glass work of art, which soars into the sky above the harbour like a frozen wave,” the book notes.

Also in the top ten were the Wattenmeer, which is a huge nature reserve on the North Sea coast, Berlin’s museum island, the sandstone hills of Saxony, and Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze in Bavaria.