Just one version of the video garnered over 1.8 million views as it made the rounds on social media on Sunday. While the source of the footage is unclear, it was allegedly shot at a demonstration on Saturday in Frankfurt and showed police walking through a crowd and using folding rulers to check whether people are standing at least 1.5 meters apart.
About 200 people participated in the protest, according to local media, with police reportedly satisfied that the event, while unauthorized, was “overall peaceful.” However, people watching police using their measuring sticks were heard on the video jeering and making derisive comments to the officers.
The reaction on social media was similar, with some observers noting that police violated the distancing rule themselves by moving close to protesters to take their measurements. Other likened the crackdown to the early days of fascist oppression in Nazi Germany.
“Germany is going full police state, measuring distances between people on the street with a yardstick,” one commenter said. “How will we ever be able to explain to our children that we let this happen?”
The incident may mark the first high-profile use of social-distancing sticks by German authorities, but police have made no secret of their measuring tool. In fact, Frankfurt police proudly touted their Covid-19 sticks in a Twitter post last week, saying they would be used to “consistently” verify compliance with Germany’s social-distancing edict.
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