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The Upper and Lower legislative halves of Germany’s parliament passed a series of amendments to its "law for the protection of the population" on Wednesday evening entitled the "third law to protect the population in the event of an epidemic situation of national importance."
According to Deutsche Welle, an international news agency, the addition of the newly-passed law will create broad wiggle room for the government to take the actions against the public to protect the public if needed.
"The infection protection law will now create a legal basis for the government to restrict some fundamental rights enshrined in the German constitution in its attempt to fight the pandemic," DW states.
Dr. Andreas Noak was filming the latest of his "Von Ursprunc" livestreams series on YouTube when shouting and repeated hamming somewhere off-screen interrupted his session. Video footage of the incident released on Twitter captures Noak’s bewilderment as an armed man with a German “polizei” tag forced him onto the floor.
"Geh auf den boden!" the officer shouted—it’s German for, "get on the ground."
Held at gunpoint, Noak had no choice but to comply.
It’s not immediately clear why Noak was arrested. He had been known to provide medical assistance to protestors and was rumored to have broken certain COVID-19 government guidelines—although his behavior is largely unconfirmed. What is known, however, is that his arrest comes on the heels of the newly passed German "infection act."
Article Seven of the bill, entitled "Einschränkung von Grundrechten," translates to "restrictions of fundamental rights." The article lists these as: "fundamental rights of physical integrity," the "freedom of person," the "freedom of assembly," the "freedom of movement," and the "inviolability of the home."
The bill in its entirety can be seen at the Bundesanzeiger website, an outlet for the government press.
There’s no mention of the extent to which the government will be allowed to "infringe" on these rights. How far these restrictions go is beyond the scope of the amendment itself.
Dr. Nils Raur, a technology writer, says it’s a law primarily concerned with balancing individual freedoms with an adequate government response to escalating numbers of COVID-19.
"The Bill is meant to amend several already enacted provisions dealing with the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic," Rauer said.
"Notably, the German Infection Protection Act is at the core of the legislative changes. The main purpose of the new law is to effectively and adequately fight the pandemic while at the same time preserving the highest level of personal freedoms of the German people."
But to many onlooking German citizens, the bill seems like an overreach.
Protests broke out in Berlin in response to the law’s passage, with citizens claiming that the bill is an unconstitutional infringement on their rights. The German government responded with water cannons and tear gas. As many as 190 people have been detained, according to Urupoint.
Where the government might see as its action as necessary to protect the German populous from the spread of COVID-19, it might come at a steep price—one that might have included Noak's YouTube Stream.
Noak's channel is largely about alternative forms of nutrition and health—a series that most people would call speculative, or conspiracy-theorist. Under the infection protection law, it might be grounds for misinformation.