Social Unrest Is the Inevitable Legacy of the Covid Pandemic
“So when our Sickness, and our Poverty Had greater wants than we could well supply; Strict Orders did but more enrage our grief, And hinder in accomplishing relief.”
That’s how the British poet George Wither explained a spreading rebellion against social-distancing rules. Seeing quarantines and lockdowns as unfair and tyrannical punishments, people were taking to the streets. The year was 1625, the place was London, the disease was plague.
The same psychology brought some 20,000 people out on the streets of Leipzig last Saturday. Flouting all rules, about 90% of the marchers refused to wear masks, according to police estimates. They represented a motley spectrum of conspiracy theorists and freedom lovers, of right-wing extremists and those simply nostalgic for East Germany’s peaceful revolution 31 years ago.
And this was only the latest of many such demonstrations this year, in Germany and dozens of other countries. People have marched, rioted or protested from Trafalgar Square to the Michigan Statehouse, sometimes armed with guns. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has counted more than 30 major protests in 26 countries between March and October just against coronavirus restrictions.