Berlin scuffles

Berlin: Covid sceptics defy protest ban.

Hundreds of anti-lockdown demonstrators defied a court-ordered protest ban on Sunday and gathered illegally in the streets of Berlin, resulting in scuffles with police.

The protest was called by the "Querdenker" (Lateral Thinkers) movement, which has emerged as the loudest voice against Germany's coronavirus restrictions.

Judges had banned several of its planned demos this weekend, including one for Sunday that was meant to draw some 22,500.

The court said it could not allow the rallies to go ahead over fears participants would flout rules on mask wearing and social distancing, at a time when Germany's infection numbers are on the rise again.

Some of the demonstrators held up signs saying "Freedom" and "No to the corona dictatorship", with very few masks seen among the crowds.

Germany's Querdenker movement has drawn in a mix of people, including anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theorists as well as members of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).