As cases of the COVID delta variant rise, governments are once again restricting the movements of their people, with Germany and Australia implementing particularly harsh lockdowns and clamping down on protests.
Battles over freedom vs. security are being waged across the globe as a lockdown-weary populace struggles with governments bent on stopping the spread of the delta variant of COVID. In France more than 200,000 people protested vaccination mandates over the weekend, while in the U.K., pro-freedom demonstrators marched in several protests because, among other complaints, they say the government is using a “track and trace” COVID app to limit where they can go and when.
However, no nation exemplifies the struggle between freedom-hungry citizens and safety-minded government officials more than Germany.
As pro-freedom protest movements have swept the nation, Berlin issued a ban on protests, denying authorization to at least 13 protests. Despite the ban, protestors still hit the streets, at times clashing with police who were put in place to stop protests.
One video captured police shoving, punching, and pepper spraying protestors. Another video showed a police officer grabbing a woman by the throat and slamming her to the ground. Another video appears to show a police officer punch a child. While the exact circumstances are unknown, these protestors did not appear to be engaging in violence or destructive behavior, only violating the ban on protests.
Approximately 600 people were detained by police, and one protester died while in custody. The government claimed that some protesters were violent and that 60 police officers were injured.
Police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said the bans affected all protests, “whose participants regularly do not follow legal regulations, specifically to protect against infections.”
Meanwhile in Australia, harsh lockdowns went into place in July, with more than half of Australia’s population confined to their homes and immediate neighborhoods after the city saw a small increase in cases of what authorities believe to be the delta variant. Last week, the military was brought in to help enforce compliance; most alarmingly, soldiers were given orders to go door to door to ensure that people are staying in their homes.
In addition, Sky News Australia, which has questioned certain COVID measures, was suspended by YouTube over the weekend. The news broadcast put out a statement, saying, “Among the videos deemed unpalatable for societal consumption were debates around whether masks were effective and whether lockdowns were justified when considering their adverse health outcomes.”
The news outlet responded by citing several times the experts have been wrong about COVID. They wrote,
“So important is your right to communicate freely, without interference, that it was declared a human right in 1948. ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,’ Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads.
This human right to be free to share your opinions through ‘any media’, whether it be criticisms of government policy, or disputing conventional thinking, is nearly absolute. But it is also fickle. And — if we allow it — easily snuffed out like many leaders have done before.”
Western society is facing a time of censorship and authoritarianism unseen in recent memory. Tech giants, which claim to be impartial, have the power to de-platform and effectively silence anyone they disagree with and they are increasingly doing so at the behest of government authorities.
They claim they are doing this in the name of following the science and keeping people safe. However, as the last 18 months have proven, the so-called experts are all over the map and have no idea how to deal with COVID. So, while YouTube claims to be following the science when choosing to censor Sky News Australia, they are actually following their own opinions and ignoring the vast disagreement over COVID protocols and the back and forth between the experts.
Now we see countries like Germany using heavy-handed tactics to quell dissent among pro-freedom demonstrators Imagine the outrage if video emerged of a cop choking and slamming a nonviolent female Black Lives Matter protestor or a demonstrator at a gay pride event. Yet progressive Germany has no problem violently squashing free speech and the right to protest when it doesn’t align with the elites’ wishes — not unlike what we have seen perpetrated against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party-aligned authorities and against pro-freedom protesters in Cuba by supporters of the communist regime.
While endless lockdowns and government restrictions may benefit those in power or the ultra-wealthy, they cause lasting damage to the lower and middle classes. Those who are business owners, health care workers, teachers, parents, students, retired, homeless, and all other regular people deserve — and actually have the right — to have their voices heard just as much as the “experts” whose opinions have state and Big Tech approval.