anheier10_PAUL ZINKENAFP via Getty Images_germanycovidprotest Paul Zinken/AFP via Getty Images

Germany's Homegrown Q Menace

While Germany's Querdenker movement cannot be considered right-wing, its parallels with America's QAnon show that the potential for radicalization is rising. The only effective way to counter this trend is to address the anxiety and alienation fueling it.

BERLIN – On August 1, 2020, about 30,000 people gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 lockdown measures. Although the event, organized by the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, defied a ban on public gatherings, it was ultimately a relatively peaceful affair. That was not the case with the next anti-lockdown demonstration in the capital, on August 29, 2020.

Most of the 38,000 participants in the August 29 rally – which took place after an administrative court in Berlin overturned a police ban on the demonstration – did behave peacefully. But a splinter group of 450-500 protesters, many from the far right, attempted to storm the Reichstag. The assault was neither as violent nor as well planned as the one on the US Capitol that would take place on January 6, 2021 – fueled by America’s own “Q,” QAnon – but it was the first time since the Nazi era that the Reichstag had been violated. This does not bode well for Germany.

Fast forward to August 1, 2021. The Querdenker had applied for permission to stage a demonstration involving about 25,000 people, which the city declined on the grounds that the movement had repeatedly violated pandemic requirements. The organizers went to court and lost. However, a motorcade was allowed.

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