IN PICTURES: Thousands take to Berlin streets in peaceful social justice, climate protest

Thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday for human rights, solidarity and social justice and against climate change in response to a call from the 'Unteilbar' (Indivisible) movement.

IN PICTURES: Thousands take to Berlin streets in peaceful social justice, climate protest
Participants hold a banner reading "Stop the climate catastrophe" during a demonstration organised by the "#unteilbar" (indivisible) movement on September 4th, 2021 in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

An alliance of more than 340 organisations and initiatives, including the German Children’s Fund, Amnesty International, Fridays for Future, the German Trade Union Federation and the Berlin tenants’ association, called for the demonstration, according to German newspaper Tagesspiegel.

At the end of the demonstration, police estimated that the number of participants was in the “upper four-digit range”, adding that people mostly observed hygiene rules and wore masks. Some 30,000 people had registered to attend.

The unteilbar movement’s motto is “For a just society based on solidarity”. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)
Organisers of the march decryed the growing divisions in European society that they say are being fuelled by policies that accentuate the gap between rich and poor, which prioritise security over human rights and promote nationalism over inclusion.
The alliance called for “different political priorities” and a redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom in a tweet, explaining that current policies strengthened inequality in many areas. 
The below picture shows a banner from ‘Wer Hat Der Gibt’, an alliance that says the rich should pay for the crisis.

Participants of the march hold banners printed with ‘No place for racism!’ and “People are not the same, but their rights are’. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

“We want different political priorities and don’t let ourselves be played off against one other,” said Unteilbar activist Anna Spangenberg, Tagespiegel reported. Those who have political responsibility must “finally tackle the climate crisis consistently and in a socially fair manner” and fight racism and misanthropy, she said.

The country needed a democracy “which guarantees real participation for everyone and which everyone can help shape”, she added.

Participants hold a sign reading ‘No Place For Nazis’ during a demonstration organised by the “#unteilbar” (indivisible) movement. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

A sign reads ‘Racism is not normal’, a reference to the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party slogan ‘Germany, but normal’ at Saturday’s demonstration. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

“I’m here today because I’ve been fighting for more hospital staff and fair wages for years,” said protester Dana, Tagesspiegel reported. “And I know that this is only possible together and in solidarity.” Another participant, Florian, said he wanted to “make a statement against right-wing parties” and “for human rights” before the general election.

The general election takes place in less than three weeks time and will see Chancellor Angela Merkel step down after 16 years in power.

READ ALSO: Who will replace Angela Merkel as chancellor?

Police officers working at the demonstration said hygiene measures were mostly observed and participants wore masks. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

A participant holds a flag reading ‘love music- hate fascism’. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

Participants at the “#unteilbar” (indivisible) demonstration hold banners, one reading ‘Solidarity is #non-negotiable’. (Photo by Adam BERRY / AFP)

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.