German police have opened a probe after a mock tombstone was found near Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) office in her electoral district of Stralsund, in an apparent show of protest against the national COVID-19 lockdown, AFP reports.
Red roses and candles were seen near the stone with the inscription: “Freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, movement and assemblies – Democracy 1990-2020”, according to a police statement issued on Saturday.
The statement added that a face mask was also tied to the stone, in what general secretary of Merkel’s CDU Paul Ziemiak slammed as “an action of poor taste”.
The action came as thousands of activists reportedly took to the Wasen festival grounds in the German city of Stuttgart on Saturday to protest against the lockdown measures.
REUTERS / CHRISTIAN MANG
Police detain a protester during a demonstration against the lockdown imposed to slow down the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Berlin, Germany April 25, 2020.
The event was the latest in a series of such protests across Germany, where many expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s alleged foot-dragging over easing confinement measures.
Merkel, for her part, stated earlier this month that Germany had put the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic behind them, adding that the country had reached its goal of slowing the virus and protecting the healthcare system.
“We are at a point where our goal of slowing the spread of the virus has been achieved and we have been able to protect our health system […] so it has been possible to discuss and agree on further easing measures”, she told reporters.
At the same time, guidelines on keeping a distance of 1.5 metres and wearing face masks on public transport will reportedly remain in place in Germany until 5 June.
According to the World Health Organisation’s situation report released on 16 May, Germany has registered more than 172,722 coronavirus cases and nearly 7,881 fatalities.