German med students praised for standing up to protesters

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BERLIN (AP) — German officials have praised a group of medical students who held a silent vigil outside a hospital in Dresden late Thursday in protest against a rally by far-right vaccine skeptics.

Saxony’s governor, Michael Kretschmer, thanked the students Friday on Twitter, saying they had made a “clear and important statement.”

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told reporters in Berlin that the student’s call for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 had his “emphatic support.”

Lauterbach said it was “disturbing” that some of the medical students reportedly face fines after police singled them out for allegedly breaching pandemic restrictions, but added that he didn’t have enough information to properly assess what had happened.

Germany’s doctors association Marburger Bund expressed its “full support” for the students and called for them not to suffer any negative consequences, saying that police had halted the medics’ silent protest “without any obvious reason.”

Police in Saxony have regularly been accused of failing to crack down on far-right protests including those that breach pandemic rules.

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