Over the past year, there have been numerous protests against Covid related lockdowns in various countries around the world. But did any of them manage to achieve their goal of convincing the government to drop restrictions?

Specifically, I’m looking for examples of governments saying something like “it would be a good idea to keep restaurants closed but the protests are now so extreme that we have to reopen them”.

  • 15
    No government is ever going to say that. The nearest you will get is "We utterly condemn these violent protests. And on a completely unrelated matter, we will be reopening the restaurants. Mar 24 at 17:23
  • @PaulJohnson something like that would also work for the purposes of this question. Basically a government that succumbed to the will of the crowd even if they never admitted it publicly. Mar 24 at 17:33
  • 1
    @JonathanReez the issue with establishing even that is the situation is so fluid. So if the government says "we are reopening the restaurants but that is not because of the protests but because the numbers are better", it might be true. Or perhaps the memories of the weighted in, even if they were not decisive.
    – SJuan76
    Mar 24 at 18:05
  • 5
    @PaulJohnson, plenty of governments acknowledge (or admit?) that they're balancing the pandemic, the economy, and other public health issues related to the lockdown (e.g. mental stress). The difference between "extimating the exhaustion of the population" and "giving in to protest" can lie in the eye of the beholder.
    – o.m.
    Mar 24 at 19:00


It is a bit of a tricky situation because there are the federal government, 16 state governments, and even county-level officials involved, but it appears that "the government" agreed to ease lockdown measures in recent weeks despite the personal conviction of Chancellor Merkel that they should be kept or even increased. She didn't have the political capital to make that happen against a groundswell of discontent with the lockdown.

A snap lockdown over Easter seems to have failed due to administrative challenges -- did they declare a public holiday, or didn't they? Nobody was sure.

For that matter, look at some of the local governments in the Erzgebirge.

  • 1
    Is there a correlation between which German cities had the biggest anti lockdown protests and which cities now have the least amount of restrictions? Mar 24 at 18:15
  • 2
    @JonathanReez, I don't think so. It seems to be a question of infection numbers and the fortitude of the state and county governments. Leaders in a strong position can overcome protests, weak ones cannot.
    – o.m.
    Mar 24 at 18:18
  • 3
    I think this answer is missing the link between a (supposed) public discontent and the easing of lockdown measures. From the surveys I've seen, ~25% want easing, ~40% want the lockdown to stay as-is, and ~30% want stricter measures. So overall a majority don't want easing.
    – tim
    Mar 25 at 9:45
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    @user253751, one would easily get 0% infection by closing all borders and ordering everyone to stay home for a month. The economic and humanitarian consequences would be drastic, so that is not done ...
    – o.m.
    Mar 25 at 18:22
  • 2
    @user253751, but do you agree that nobody is targeting 100% infections? At least according to most normal definitions of that verb.
    – o.m.
    Mar 25 at 18:35

As of last week (I'm writing this March 29th), the provincial government of BC, Canada is planning to relax indoors attendance to religious events temporarily, for the next 5-6 weeks I believe and that despite the numbers being on a regular upward trend in the last month.

The rationale is that it is an important time for a number of religions (such as Easter).

The impetus would seem to be the frequents protests around religious restrictions and civil disobedience (holding masses) by a small number of churches in the Kelowna and Fraser Valley regions - areas which coincidentally which have some of the highest case loads.

There was already a court ruling that the government response to the pandemic, shutting down in person attendance for religious functions, was in the public interest, proportionate to the emergency and therefore did not unduly infringe the charter's right to religious liberty.

So it certainly wasn't a legal obligation. And it is happening during a time of increasing Covid numbers, rather than at a time where better conditions might justify relaxing some restrictions.

(It is quite possible that this planned loosening up will be halted before it begins, as the numbers have been trending up quite uncomfortably since this announcement was first made).

But it does seem like giving in to a vocal minority's pressure. I want to stress that the vast majority of churches and religious people have acted sensibly in the matter and respected the safety of others.


No they don't, they haven't so far and they probably never will.

Just to be sure we are talking about the same thing: In talking about public protest, we are talking about lots of people going out on the street, making a lot of noise and blocking traffic and so on, right?

Even if such a public protest plays a role in government decisions concerning Covid.19, no government will ever confirm that, given that these protests themselves form a risk for spreading of infection and proving them effective would encourage their use.

Coming to think of it, governments might even choose to ignore street protests concerning entirely different matters for that reason, at least as long as this pandemic lasts.

  • The protest not necessarily carried out on streets, voices from voting blocks/communities/businesses also count. Many States in the US are relaxing COVID rules due to those voices, despite the warning from the health officials and the President.
    – r13
    Mar 29 at 21:57
  • That is why i set the precondition of it being protest marches. The thing is, you have to somehow overcome the demand for expertise. I think governments are quite aware that they are digging their own grave with these measures, regardless of whether they are the 'right'. German federation chancellor Merkel made a recall of a bad decision, which is political suicide. Something you can only do if you have nothing to loose, which for chancellor Merkel is the case. She has no desire to last much longer in politics, but stays on because the job is there and she is better at it than the next guy.
    – Berend
    Mar 29 at 23:42

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