A “fetish party” with around 600 attendees has been broken up by police in Berlin for breaching coronavirus regulations.
The open-air event in the Mitte district had a limit of 250 people and party-goers were required to buy tickets in advance. It was organised by and held at the Alte Münze, an old minting mill now used as an event and nightlife space.
But it was shut down when more people turned up than anticipated on Saturday. Many of them were not wearing masks and the venue was too small for the crowd to practice social distancing, said police.
In a tweet, police described the event as a “fetish party” that “probably ended unsatisfactorily”, adding that the event was resolved with the help of the Mitte district office.
But organisers objected to the police’s description of the event, and said in a statement: “It was criticised that the minimum distance was not fully complied with despite the mask at the open air event, this is not evident from the current regulation [sic].
“The event served as a meeting point for the community and had no parallels with the physical character of a fetish party. We regret that scandalous language images are used to arouse outrage.”
It added: “We would like to announce that it is a matter of morality for society as a whole to discuss whether events in this form should currently take place.
“We do not close ourselves to this discussion and would like to explain that it was the last open air gathering of the community for an indefinite period of time, in the planning and implementation of which compliance with the applicable guidelines to contain the coronavirus was always the top priority.”
Germany is fighting to gain control over a second wave of Covid-19 infections, a familiar situation in many countries in Europe.
Restrictions in Berlin, which is considered a virus “hotspot” by the German government, include an 11pm curfew on pubs and restaurants and gatherings in public spaces limited to 10 people.
She said in a nationwide address: “We must call especially on young people to do without a few parties now in order to have a good life tomorrow or the day after.”
Für ca. 600 Gäste einer Fetisch-Party in #Mitte endete diese vermutlich unbefriedigend.
Wir lösten die Feier in Amtshilfe für das @BA_Mitte_Berlin auf. Die Kolleg. der @bpol_bepo machten anschließend nochmal deutlich, dass es Zeit ist nach Hause zu gehen.#GemeinsamGegenCovid19 pic.twitter.com/sGwzHFN3L3
— Polizei Berlin Einsatz (@PolizeiBerlin_E) October 24, 2020
On Sunday, Germany registered more than 10,000 new Covid-19 cases for the fourth day in a row. The total number of infections since the start of the pandemic now stands at 429,181, with 10,032 deaths.
Last week, the organiser of the capital’s famous Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market announced its cancellation, telling the Welt newspaper that the risk was “impossible to calculate”.
The market was due to take place between 23 November to 31 December, and attracted over 900,000 visitors last year. This year marks the first time since it opened in 2003 that the market will not be held, costing organisers and traders an estimated €22 to €25 million.
Other cities have also cancelled or are scaling back their Christmas markets, including Düsseldorf, Cologne, and most recently, Frankfurt. Markets in Munich and Nuremberg are planned to go ahead.