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Germany places anti-lockdown supporters under digital surveillance

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German authorities have placed an anti-lockdown group under observation and surveillance. The group is encouraging people to attend anti-lockdown rallies on New Year’s Eve.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Stuttgart is officially observing the anti-lockdown group “Querdenken 711.” The intelligence agency fears people will respond to the group’s call for mass rallies against coronavirus restrictions on New Year’s Eve.

The group, whose name translates to “Lateral Thinking 711,” has been using the internet to support anti-lockdown protests all over the country for months. In one such protest in Berlin in November, police dispersed protesters using pepper spray and water cannons.

“Querdenken 711” was founded this year by IT entrepreneur Michael Ballweg in Stuttgart and has since gone national.

Supporters range from left to right of the political spectrum, all united by their opposition to COVID-19 restrictions.

Interior Minister Thomas Strobl said that within the anti-lockdown movement, there were “sufficiently weighty indications for extremist efforts.”

Meanwhile, for the festive season, Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering a “tough lockdown” as suggested by the National Academy of Sciences. Germany has so far avoided total lockdown in favor of what they’re calling “lockdown lite.”

As lockdowns and restrictions have ravaged the economy and the livelihoods of families and small business owners, unrest is growing – particularly voiced online where people are airing their grievances. Germany’s decision to surveil anti-lockdown voices is an unsurprising move from a country not exactly known for its civil liberties.

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