Since that morning he has been answering questions from journalists who have traveled across Germany: the number of cases is rising rapidly, a demo of corona deniers and now the district administrator is under police protection. What is going on in the Hildburghausen district in Thuringia?
Demonstration with corona deniers
A few days ago, a mixture of Corona deniers, so-called concerned citizens and actors from the right-wing scene moved through Hildburghausen to demonstrate against the Corona measures. According to the police, it is unclear who organized the demo. 400 people protested in the city center, singing and without a mask, distances were completely ignored. And that despite 588.6 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. (As of November 29th) In the end, the police broke up the unannounced meeting.
District Administrator Thomas Müller has received death threats since he was critical of the demonstrators
District Administrator Müller lacks any understanding for the protest. “When you roar through the city, singing, against the background that people are dying in our hospital, that’s macabre.” He was certain: You have to be clear about that. He did that too. “And then you are also threatened in life and limb,” he adds, shaking his head.
After Müller had criticized the demonstrators as irresponsible, he received death threats in return on social media: “Müller, you stupid pig. Take a rope and hang yourself,” said a Facebook post that has since been deleted. Müller has been under police protection since then. The local politician has been at home in southern Thuringia for 26 years, he knows almost everyone here and almost everyone knows him, he says. That makes the death threats even more sinister.
Loud demonstrators, silent majority
One hundred meters as the crow flies from the district office is the center of the idyllic small town of Hildburghausen. The only ones who are permanently present on the deserted market place are the police officers – and now and then a few wandering journalists looking for residents to ask about the current situation. However, they cannot be seen far and wide, the people seem to be sticking to the lockdown. A few people from Hildburghausen can only be seen in front of the Rewe at the end of the street.
Around 400 people move through the small town of Hildburghausen to demonstrate against the Corona measures
Most of them don’t like the protests and the attentiveness that goes with them. Most find the demonstrators’ behavior irresponsible, wrong, difficult to understand. A woman sums up her feelings like this: “I think that’s a mess under everything. It’s just the way it is, and now we have to go through it.”
Berlin and Leipzig on a small scale
According to District Administrator Müller, what is happening here is comparable to the anti-corona measures demonstrations in Berlin or Leipzig, where hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people came together and repeatedly violated the hygiene concept and endangered the reasonable majority.
i Compared to thousands of demonstrators in Berlin, 400 people in Hildburghausen hardly seem worth mentioning. But in a city with around 60,000 inhabitants, that matters. Nobody knows exactly where the many cases come from here in the district. The infection process here is diffuse, it permeates the entire population.
New demo already in the starting blocks?
Many in Hildburghausen suffer from the lockdown: business owners with no turnover, parents with children in homeschooling and the overburdened staff in the hospital. But most seem to stay at home and adhere to the restrictions. “Gritting her teeth”, as a shopkeeper admits on a flying visit to her empty shop, “but consistently.”
The schools have also been closed since last week. District Administrator Müller wants to take action to reopen them: mass tests for schoolchildren are planned for Tuesday. As a result, a school opening moves into the realm of the possible. a piece of normalcy could return.
Everything seems calm again on the market square of Hildburghausen
The demonstrators are not impressed by this. Plans for further protests are already circulating on social media. District Administrator Müller says: “Stay at home. It is dangerous, not only for yourself, but also for those who you may involve.”
Like most residents, he hopes that the number of infections will soon decline – and that the city will disappear from the nationwide headlines again.