Thousands of people gathered in Berlin and London on Saturday to protest against COVID-19 restrictions.
The German government attempted to ban the protests, but that move was overturned by courts on Friday, who permitted demonstrators to march through Germany’s capital city.
Protestors were ordered to wear masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines to avoid spreading the virus, but police were forced to disperse crowds by midday.
Many protestors discarded their masks or didn’t wear them at all and marched closely together, with police stepping in to break up the mass of people.
“Unfortunately, we have no other option,” Berlin police said on Twitter. “All the measures taken so far have not led to compliance with the conditions.”
The protests were organized by a group based in Stuttgart called Querdenken Lateral thinking 711, who claim COVID-19 restrictions infringe the basic human rights of German people.
There were similar scenes in London, where thousands of demonstrators gathered in Trafalgar Square and used megaphones to broadcast their dissent against measures designed to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Demonstrators held up placards railing against the World Health Organization, with other signs labelling the pandemic a “hoax” and a “scam”.
Some people also held aloft placards slamming Bill Gates, following conspiracy theories that the ex-Microsoft owner wants to use vaccines to plant tracking chips in humans.
Gates has pumped millions of pounds into funding research for a vaccine, but many protestors believe his efforts have an ulterior motive.