Germany Cuts Powers To States In Fight Against Covid

The Federal Parliament of Germany , the Bundestag , has given the green light this Wednesday to the so-called “emergency brake” approved by the government of Angela Merkel . In addition to tightening certain restrictions, the law allows Germany for the first time to have unitary restrictions for the entire federal territory.

Merkel thus sees fulfilled her threats to cut the powers of the 16 federal states , whose governments had become the object of criticism from the Chancellor for applying the restrictions with little decision, in her opinion.

The so-called Infection Protection Law reform – approved last year – received the support of deputies from the conservative union of the CDU-CSU and its partners in the Grand Coalition government , the Social Democrats of the SPD.

The opposition parties – the AfD ultra-right, the liberal-conservatives of the FDP, the eco-liberals of Los Verdes and La Izquierda – have voted against it for different reasons: for some the law goes too far; for others, it falls short. There have been 64 abstentions.

With this legislative reform, the new measures envisaged by the federal government for the entire territory come into force: from an incidence of 100 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in seven days, the districts will be obliged to introduce a curfew between ten o’clock the night at six in the morning; schools and nursery schools will close their doors from an incidence of 165 new infections; companies should offer their employees two rapid tests a week to expand the capacity to detect asymptomatic cases; From an incidence of 150, businesses not considered essential – practically all, except supermarkets, pharmacies and drugstores – will only be able to sell digitally.

The Bundesrat – the regional chamber of the federal parliament – has yet to pass the law this week, against which the liberal-conservatives of the FDP have already announced that they will present an appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Protests against a “dictatorship”
While the Bundestag debated and voted on the new restrictions, several demonstrations were held outside Parliament and in different parts of the center of Berlin against the legislative reform on which the restrictions on fundamental rights are based.

Several thousand people have protested against what they consider to be an autocratic drift of the Federal Republic. Some of the protesters even denounce a “dictatorship”.

The different marches called this Wednesday by the German anti-crown movement have been less massive than on other occasions . The police have forcibly disbanded some of them.

The protests have been, again, a curious combination of citizens dissatisfied with the management of the pandemic , far-rightists, extra-parliamentary left, yogis and former citizens of the former Democratic Republic of Germany (GDR), the socialist East Germany.

“We come from a dictatorship and we know how to build something like this. We do not want a third dictatorship in Germany ”, Erhardt and Joachim, two East German retirees.

“We are both grandparents and we have grandchildren. And what they are doing with them in schools and in kindergartens is unacceptable. This government says that the measures approved here today are for our health , but in reality they are destroying us psychologically ”.

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