City sets up restricted protest zone to quell violence
Antivax demonstrators will have to stay within a restricted zone in the city of Luxembourg from now, authorities said on Thursday, after police struggled to contain violence that erupted during protests last weekend.
The protest zone will extend from the Glacis in Limpertsberg on to the Kirchberg district across the red bridge, Interior Security Minister Henri Kox and Luxembourg city mayor Lydie Polfer said at a press conference.
The city does not hold the power to put a complete ban on protests, Polfer said during the press conference, citing article 25 of the Luxembourgish constitution, which gives the right to any individual to protest peacefully.
Any protestor breaking out of the zone would face legal penalties, Polfer said, after last weekend's demonstrations saw groups of Covid sceptics disrupt a Christmas market and protest in front of Prime Minister Xavier Bettel's home - although there were no injuries and material damage was limited.
There were suspicions that last weekend's protests had in part been organised from abroad, but there was no way to keep out foreign protestors because of the freedom of movement between EU countries, Donat Donven, the Grand Duchy's Deputy Police Chief, said at the press conference.
Amnesty International earlier on Thursday cancelled a march it had planned this weekend, blaming last weekend's upheaval, saying it had seen its "right to expression" compromised by "other groups and individuals" plotting to "take advantage" of the march to voice their own beliefs.