German police fired water cannons Wednesday at demonstrators protesting coronavirus restrictions in Berlin’s government district after crowds disregarded commands to wear masks and keep their distance from one another in line with pandemic regulations.
As the cannons soaked protesters outside the landmark Brandenburg Gate, police officers in riot gear moved through the crowd carrying away some participants. Some demonstrators threw fireworks and flares in response as police helicopters hovered overhead.
The protests came as German lawmakers debated a bill providing a legal underpinning for the government to issue social distancing rules, require masks in public and close stores and other venues to slow the spread of the virus.
While such measures are supported by many people in Germany, others have staged regular rallies around the country arguing that the restrictions are unconstitutional.
The measures are expected to pass both the lower and then upper house of parliament and be quickly