UN Rapporteur on Torture Investigating Reports of Police Brutality Against German Anti-Lockdown Protesters

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
August 5, 2021 Updated: August 5, 2021

A United Nations official says he is probing reports of police brutality against anti-lockdown protesters in Germany.

Violent clashes between law enforcement officers and protesters during an Aug. 1 protest were captured on video and disseminated widely online.

One video, for instance, showed officers tackling people to the ground and punching at least one protester.

Another appeared to show an officer hit a child.

People were protesting the German government’s harsh measures that have been imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nils Melzer, the special rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment at the United Nations, said this week that the clashes were brought to his attention for the first time.

Melzer later told Berliner Zeitung that his team received numerous reports from people who were at the protest.

“We will now sift through and evaluate the material. Every single message and video needs to be carefully verified and I will also speak to direct eyewitnesses. But my impression is that in several cases there is reason enough for an official intervention on my part with the federal government,” he said.

Melzer said that violence against protesters is not acceptable, nor are attacks against police officers.

“Isolated violence by demonstrators must in no way serve to justify police violence against other, non-violent demonstrators,” he said.

Following the clashes, Berlin police officials defended the actions of officers.

Officials said protesters were attacked and forced to use crowd-control measures, including deployment of chemical irritants.

The German government later condemned the violence, appearing to blame protesters.

“Violent clashes and the abuse of the right to protest are not acceptable,” government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said, according to the Associated Press.

German media reported that some 600 people were arrested.

One 48-year-old died after suffering a heart attack following his arrest, authorities said.

The cause of death is under investigation. Police said there were no signs that violence caused the death.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.