German policeman suspended after protest speech against virus rules

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A police officer in the German city of Hanover has been relieved of his duties pending an investigation following a speech he gave at a demonstration against coronavirus hygiene rules.

The city police department confirmed this on Tuesday.

The man appeared onstage at a rally on Sunday in Dortmund, organised by the protest movement Querdenken (Lateral Thinking), which has held numerous events calling into question the need for rules such as mandatory masks and social distancing.

He introduced himself to the crowd, giving his full name and occupation as detective chief superintendent, before calling the rules into question.

In a video of the speech published on YouTube, he is heard urging fellow police officers to act in accordance with their own conscience rather than showing blind obedience.

The police officer also drew parallels between the current pandemic and life under Nazi rule.

“In the darkest chapter of our German history, the rulers subjected their security forces to unconditional obedience and abused them for the most horrific crimes ever inflicted on other people,” the man said.

He added that he had a feeling in his stomach that things were again going in “the same direction.’’

According to local media, the man has been employed at the Hanover police department’s central bureau for technical prevention for a number of years.

A spokesman for the state interior ministry in Lower Saxony said officers that do not stand by the rule of law have no place in the police force.

A spokeswoman for the Hanover police department said an investigation is under way to establish whether the policeman violated his commitment to neutrality and proper conduct.

NAN

Aug. 11, 2020 | 15:30

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