“There are wolves disguised as sheep trying to sneak into society with slogans against democracy,” said Herbert Reul (CDU), Minister of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia, denouncing what is going on behind the scenes in the “spontaneous” protests against the anti-coronavirus regulations.
Meanwhile, Thomas Haldenwang, president of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the federal counter-espionage agency), is sounding the alarm about the growing “tendency of extremists, especially right-wing extremists, to exploit street demonstrations.”
It is an extensive network, covering the whole of Germany, actively organized over the Internet, with the aim of bringing together the various strands of the anti-lockdown protest under a single umbrella. That is, they’re trying to bring together conspiracy theorists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, “citizens of the Reich,” Christian fundamentalists, ultra-neoliberals and even the Turkish Grey Wolves against the so-called “health dictatorship” of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
It doesn’t matter to these protesters that there has never been an obligation to wear a mask in Berlin (except in shops and on public transport), that you can circulate and meet anyone without having to report it to the authorities, and that you can even gather in small groups in parks and squares. Nor do they care that the World Medical Association has just accused the German government of underestimating the pandemic and putting the economy first by starting “Phase Two” without the health situation being completely under control.
The only authority the anti-lockdown protesters seem to follow is Attila Hildmann, born in 1981, a vegan author and cook of Turkish origin. His number one nemesis is the Minister of Health, Jens Spahn (CDU), whom he accused of being part of “a conspiracy to abolish democracy in Germany through surveillance and the dirty, rotten compulsory vaccination paid by Bill Gates.”
Hildmann has also targeted Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, the government agency responsible for the fight against COVID-19, also supposedly part of the “New World Order” coming to suppress dissenting voices.
Attila seems to be the perfect catalyst for the conspiracy universe, a useful mouthpiece for Russia Today, which was the outlet that, according to Hildemann himself, “awakened him from his disinterest in politics.” Before the coronavirus, he was limiting himself to talking about chemtrails and the secret plans of the aliens; afterwards, he began his battle against the state and government, ranting about “Berlin’s poisoned aqueducts to keep the population quiet.”
“A mix of anti-Semitic myths and violent fantasies,” in the words of Matthias Schwarzer of the RND information network; or, otherwise put, “the combination of overestimating one’s abilities and losing touch with reality,” as Sebastian Leber of the newspaper Taggespiegel summed it up.
Hildmann’s is a case somewhere between unintentional comedy and mental illness: it would be funny if it weren’t for the fact that Hildmann has gone so far as to declare 15 May as the “date of the seizure of power.” It is no longer a laughing matter, even if this is coming from those who are convinced that they are being spied on, not only by federal intelligence agencies, but also “by the Templars.” The supermarket chains Kaufland and Vitalia have refused to sell the books written by the vegan cook since May 7.
However, Hildmann remains the ideal figure who is able to motivate the small group that occupied Alexanderplatz in Berlin last week, and even as many as 2,500 people who protested in Stuttgart—all united by slogans such as “We are the People” (born at the end of the DDR and now abused by the far right), “Against the Health Regime” and “vaccine terrorism.”
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