Covid protests

Who are you marching with?

The language used by many of the instigators of the anti-vaxx and anti-covid law protests meant it was sadly inevitable that at some stage they would turn violent.  Photo: Shutterstock

The language used by many of the instigators of the anti-vaxx and anti-covid law protests meant it was sadly inevitable that at some stage they would turn violent.  Photo: Shutterstock

The government is bending over backwards to protect the inalienable right to protest this weekend. But those with legitimate concerns about 2G must be wary of the extremists that are leading the anti-vax protests, argues Duncan Roberts.

Many employees who, for whatever reason, have not been vaccinated are legitimately concerned about the introduction of the mandatory CovidCheck regime at their workplace on 15 January next year. They feel that they are being discriminated against and there is a strong argument to support the call by the likes of banking union Aleba that companies, or the government, should pay for the daily test of those who are not 2G compliant.

It is good to see the unions getting involved and representing those workers who feel they don’t have a voice and are being unfairly treated.

Many have, however, made their voices heard by joining in protests that, until last Saturday, had passed off peacefully. In response, the government, police and city of Luxembourg have allowed a protest this Saturday along a carefully designated route.

It was sadly inevitable that at some stage these protests would turn violent. Many of the organisers and most vocal supporters of the protests are not simply complaining about the introduction of 2G. They are dangerous advocates of conspiracy theory, the lunatic fringe – the Germans and Luxembourgers call them “Schwurbeler”, which is almost impossible to translate. They have openly called for an escalation of violence--the police said on Friday that its social media team has taken note of a message from Peter Freitag, one of the most vocal anti-vaxxers in the grand duchy.

No false flags

They have targeted the private homes of prime minister Xavier Bettel and family minister Corinne Cahen, who last week was advised by police to take her two children and leave her house.

The violence last weekend, minimal as it may seem to those of us used to much more brutal protest in larger cities, was not perpetrated by agents provocateurs or under false flag pretence. The people who are issuing threats have not piggybacked the demos but are, in many cases, the very instigators of the protests.

Among them are:

·      Those who support Syrian mass murderer Bashar al-Assad but who laughably call Luxembourg’s democratically elected prime minister a “dictator”.

·      Those who threaten to disrupt the peaceful torchlight parade by Amnesty International, but who claim they are protesting for human rights.

·      Those who attack the media and accredited journalists and would rather believe social media trolls.

·      Those who decry doctors and frontline covid staff as liars and stooges of the government but rely on their equitable service when hospitalised with covid symptoms.

·      Those that compare covid health measures to Hitler’s Nazi regime while shamelessly disparaging the killing of six million Jews.

·      Those who cry “Liberté” because they want the freedom to be allowed to transmit a potentially deadly disease.

·      Those who shout that we should “learn to live with the virus” and thus spit on the suffering of those who have died from covid and the grief of their loved ones.

None of these people have been silenced or repressed, but granted freedom of expression on numerous platforms that allow them to reach an audience. But when that freedom turns to hate, we have to be wary.  I, for one, would never march alongside them.