In Germany, conspiracy theories about the current COVID-19 pandemic are rampant and the people who beleive in them have turned violent while protesting stay-at-home orders.
A large percentage of the protesters claim that the government is using 5G antennae to give people coronavirus in order to make them take a virus that would implant a mind-control microchip in them. Countless variations of these deranged scenarios exist and are commonly shared using different platforms on the internet.
There have been clashes with police in Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart over the weekend, according to AFP.
The largest – and most violent – protest was held in Berlin on Saturday. Around 3000 people showed up. During the peaceful part of the protest, demonstrators didn’t respect physical distancing rules. After a while, police came in to disperse the crowd. Some of the protesters stayed behind and clashed with them. In the end, police arrested 200 protesters.
Tausende Menschen haben heute in Stuttgart, Berlin, München und weiteren deutschen Städten gegen Corona-Auflagen der Bundesregierung demonstriert – mancherorts griffen Sicherheitskräfte hart durch. pic.twitter.com/EUmQ8ZZCyd— TRT Deutsch (@TRTDeutsch) May 16, 2020
A crack-pot vegan influencer is also part of the protests. Attila Hildmann actively spreading conspiracy theories using his popular social media accounts. According to him, “the mask is the new swastika”.
These conspiracy theories have also gained traction within Germany’s government, according to The Sun : “An employee of the Federal Interior Ministry was relieved of his duties at the weekend after describing Covid-19 as no worse than the normal flu in a 80-page document.”
“Georg Maier, interior minister of the Thuringia region, told Der Spiegel magazine : ‘The idea that the pandemic was deliberately introduced to control people, and that Bill Gates and other dark forces are behind it, reaches deep into the middle of society.'”
The political party that’s third in the polls right now, the far-right AfD, supports the protests. “After protests last weekend, AfD co-chief Alexander Gauland said it was “completely correct that people are exercising their fundamental rights and demonstrating against corona measures.” Any division in society over the protests should not be blamed on those demonstrating, said Gauland, but on “the sweeping vilification of participants as right-wing extremists, nutcases or conspiracy theorists,” he said”, according to Welt.de.