Protesters rallied Saturday in some of Europe’s largest cities against government restrictions and safety measures intended to mitigate the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
Events held in Berlin and London each attracted well over 10,000 participants, while approximately 200 attended a similar rally in Paris, several regional news outlets reported.
Video from the German capital showed crowds marching while blatantly flouting public safety measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes.
Police had made it mandatory that participants wear face masks and practice social distancing, and attendees were ordered to disperse when those rules were clearly ignored.
About 18,000 people attended the Berlin march and “numerous” arrests were made, BBC reported.
In the U.K., video from London showed similarly behaving crowds filling Trafalgar Square to watch conspiracy theorist David Icke address protesters at the “Unite for Freedom” rally.
“Human race, get off your knees. The lion sleeps no more,” Mr. Icke, 68, stated during his speech.
“Stay in your home? No! Wear a mask? No!” yelled Mr. Icke, who has previously proclaimed the existence of shape-shifting reptilians and been accused of anti-Semitism.
More than 10,000 people attended the London rally, The Daily Mail estimated.
Only around 200 “anti-mask” activists participated in a Paris rally, meanwhile, Reuters reported.
COVID-19 is spread from person to person and is highly contagious, so public health experts recommend people cover their mouths and noses and stay six-feet apart when in public.
In addition to being incurable, it is especially dangerous because it can be transmitted asymptomatically – meaning a person may catch it and share it without ever feeling sick.
More than 24.8 million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global population is approximately 7.8 billion.