Germany will ‘defend itself’ against violent anti-vaxxers, says Scholz

Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that Germany would "defend itself" against a violent minority of anti-vaccine militants who have threatened public officials.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Bundestag on Wednesday.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Bundestag on Wednesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Michael Kappeler

“We will not allow a tiny minority of uninhibited extremists to try to impose its will on the whole of society,” Scholz said in his first speech as Chancellor to parliament.

“Germany will use all the means of its democratic rule of law to defend itself against this tiny minority of the hateful attacking the rest of us,” he said after police raids in Dresden following death threats against a pro-vaccine politician.

There is a lot of talk about the division of society, Scholz said, but he stressed: “Our society is not divided.” The new Chancellor praised the majority of people in Germany for showing “solidarity, reason and caution” throughout the health crisis.

In his address, Scholz said Germany would get through the Covid pandemic and see normality return. 

“Things will get better again. We will win the battle, we will overcome the crisis,” he said, adding that the government would do everything it could so that people could get back as much normality and freedoms as before the pandemic began. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s new government condemns ‘aggressive’ anti-vax movement

Scholz urged people to go and get vaccinated.

“My urgent request to all citizens of this country – help us to cope with this task, get vaccinated, protect your life and protect the lives of others,” he said. 

Scholz said the goal was still to get 30 million Covid jabs into people’s arms by the end of this year.

Since November 18th, 19 million doses have already been administered, said Scholz, adding that vaccination was the only way out of the pandemic. 

However, Scholz did not address reports from his Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, that there will be Covid vaccine shortages in Germany from January. 

‘Break new ground’

Scholz also spoke about the challenges of the coming years. He said the so-called traffic light parties – named after the coalition colours of the Social Democrats (red), Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) – “will break new ground” when it comes to topics like climate change and the modernisation of Germany. 

The SPD politician also thanked his predecessor from the centre-right CDU.

Angela Merkel served Germany “in an impressive manner as Chancellor for 16 years, always oriented to the cause and the facts, always completely unpretentious and without airs and graces, always with courage and wisdom, with pragmatism and prudence”, said Scholz.

Scholz was elected as the ninth chancellor of Germany a week ago. The coalition agreement between the SPD, Greens and the FDP was signed at the beginning of December.

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‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.