Status: December 27, 2021 3:34 p.m.
During the partly violent corona protests on Sunday in Schweinfurt, a four-year-old child was also injured by pepper spray. The case is now causing massive criticism. According to police unions, children at such demos are no exception.
The case of a child injured in a demonstration against Corona measures arouses sharp criticism from police unions and the child protection association. The four-year-old child was exposed to pepper spray when his mother tried to break through a police line.
The President of the Child Protection Association, Heinz Hilgers, told the editorial network Germany:
I find it irresponsible that children who are still very young and who are not yet able to make their own decisions about this are taken to demonstrations where experience has shown that violent clashes occur.
Not an isolated case
From the point of view of the federal chairman of the police union (GdP), Oliver Malchow, the mother had to expect that her child could also be injured. In the “Rheinische Post”, Malchow said that it was by no means an isolated case that children were also taken to protest actions against the corona policy:
There is a more frequent phenomenon that parents go to anti-vaccination demonstrations with their children, often in prams, in order to use their children as shields against police measures.
The police forces face the challenge of weighing up the means by which they can take action against possible excesses and how much consideration they can show for children. The presence of children increases the protection of violent participants in a meeting – “but at the expense of the safety of the children,” warned Malchow. Those who gather peacefully and without weapons do not need a protective shield – and certainly not a child to protect him or her.
Decision “based on absolute calculation”
Thorsten Grimm, the Lower Franconian district chairman of the German Police Union (DPolG), made a similar statement. “You have to ask yourself the serious question of what motivates a mother to take her child in a pram to such a gathering and then to move in the front line when trying to bypass the police barriers.” To “abuse” a child as a kind of protective shield represents an “act of inhumanity” for him, which the youth welfare office must call into action.
The chairman of the Bavarian DPoIG regional association, Jürgen Köhnlein, also condemned the decision to take children to protests such as in Schweinfurt. This is done “out of absolute calculation and also for an end in itself”.
Youth Welfare Office informed about the case
According to the police, around 2,500 people took part in the unannounced demonstration in Schweinfurt. In some cases there were aggressive riots. Several police officers were injured. The police sometimes used batons and pepper spray. The mother and the four-year-old child also got caught in a cloud of pepper spray when they tried to overcome a police line.
The child suffered eye irritation but could still be treated on site. According to the police, he is now fine. The youth welfare office was notified. In addition, a complaint was made against the mother for a violation of the assembly law.
A total of eight people who participated in the demonstration were arrested. Four of the arrested were brought before the Schweinfurt District Court on Monday for resisting law enforcement officers and an attack on police officers.