Neo-Nazis, Qanon Nuts, and Hardcore Vegans Unite to Protest Germany's Lockdown - 2020-05-13
These were some of the scenes at nationwide anti-lockdown demonstrations in Germany over the weekend, attended by an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 people. Politically, it appeared a wild mash-up. But who exactly were these people?
Unlike in the U.S., where protests have mostly originated on one side of the political spectrum, the demonstrators' signs didn't offer many clues at first. One man held up a hand-written paper saying, "I'm not right wing, I'm not left wing, I am for free expression, constitutional rights and democracy." Another sign said, "Don't give [Bill] Gates a chance! No enforced vaccinations." Yet another wore a mask nearby decorated with the words "Merkel's muzzle," and there was at least one with a T-shirt reading, in English, all caps: Q ANON - DO YOU BELIEVE IN COINCIDENCE?
The demonstrators call themselves "the corona-rebels," or "alternative thinkers" or part of the Querfront, a venerable German political term that suggests different social and political subgroups drawn to one plan of action. In this case, they include anti-vaxxers, hard core vegans, neo-Nazis, members of the Reichburger sovereign citizen movement, which rejects the legitimacy of the modern German state, and politicians from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, plus a sprinkling of their sometime allies the Free Democrats.