Inside the Weird Pro-QAnon German Group Behind RFK Jr.'s Latest Anti-Vaxx Stunt - 2020-09-02
Last weekend, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Berlin to rail against the minimal health and safety restrictions put in place by the German government to curb the spread of COVID-19. The rally, which was organized by the German group Querdenken 711—and which saw hundreds arrested for attempting to storm the parliament building, among other things—represented the ongoing rise of conspiracy theorists in Germany, particularly those affiliated with the QAnon cult. And Querdenken 711 had a very special anti-vaxxer guest at the rally: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of one of America's most prominent political dynasties.
Querdenken 711, whose name loosely translates to "Thinking Outside the Box 711," had tried to invite other controversial world leaders to the rally before landing Kennedy. On Aug. 7, the group's Twitter account tweeted at Donald Trump, calling him "the only American President who has not started a war," despite his record escalating the U.S.'s foreign conflicts, and cordially invited him "to speak on the subject of 'peace.'" Three days later, the account tweeted at Russia's President Vladimir Putin, asking him, too, to speak about "Peace in Europe," apparently ignoring Russia's intervention in Eastern Ukraine. (Members of Querdenken's many Telegram channels noted that Putin might be too busy with the escalating tensions in Belarus to attend.)
In a last-ditch effort to score a major speaker outside of their own ranks, the group finally tweeted at Kennedy, asking him to join them on stage for "freedom and peace" on Aug. 19. Kennedy had already signaled his interest in the growing "anti-COVID" movement in Germany. On Aug. 11, his anti-vaccine group, Children's Health Defense, published a letter by an anonymous "Friend in Germany" on the organization's website. Four days later, Querdenken 711 founder Michael Ballweg offered an official public invitation during a speech in Hamburg.