SHARE
COPY LINK

PROTEST

Eight arrested at anti-lockdown protest in Danish capital

Danish police said they arrested eight people in an anti-lockdown demonstration in Copenhagen late on Saturday.

Eight arrested at anti-lockdown protest in Danish capital
The group Men In Black demonstrates in Copenhagen, Saturday 27 February 2021. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen / Ritzau Scanpix

Organised by a group calling itself “Men in Black”, the rally of around 1,200 people in the Danish capital was the first since the government announced last week that it was extending many anti-coronavirus restrictions.

Police said the rally remained largely peaceful, but eight people were arrested for allegedly using fireworks and for rowdy behaviour.

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Initially, around 600 people took part in the demonstration, but the crowd had swelled to around 1,200 by the end of the evening on the square in front of Copenhagen’s town hall, police said.

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

“Men in Black” has previously arranged demonstrations in Aalborg and Copenhagen. 

In January one of the protests in Copenhagen included the burning of an effigy of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, leading to the arrest of two men.

Denmark, which has been under a partial lockdown since late December, announced last Wednesday that it would ease some coronavirus restrictions but keep the majority in place despite protests from the opposition.

READ ALSO: Denmark announces easing of Covid-19 restrictions: Limited opening of schools and shops

While Danes will once again be able to visit some shops and partake in small-scale sports and communal activities from Monday, many restrictions have been extended until 5th April, including the closure of bars, restaurants, and most secondary and higher education institutions.

The number of Covid-19 infections in Denmark has fallen sharply over the past few weeks, but the rate of incidence of the so-called UK variant of the coronavirus, which is more easily transmissible, remains a source of concern, authorities said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

SHOW COMMENTS