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Weekend demos: Parents in Bonn demand step-by-step opening of day care

Weekend demos : Parents in Bonn demand step-by-step opening of day care

People in Bonn demonstrated at the weekend in support of a gradual opening of schools and nursery centres. The streets of the Bundesviertel also saw people protesting against what they see as an endangerment of their basic rights.

Over the weekend thousands of people across Germany demonstrated against the measures introduced to contain the Corona pandemic. In addition to the demand for respecting fundamental rights, more and more parents are calling for day care centres to be open to all children. Demonstrations were also held in Bonn.

The parents mobilised through the Facebook group "Parents in Crisis". The group was founded a month ago and already has over 10,000 members. “We want parents and children to be seen more in society,” explained Antonia Eiden, organiser of the demonstration in Bonn.

She demonstrated at the Marktplatz in Bonn on Sunday afternoon together with Sabine von Thenen and about thirty other parents. “We no longer want any interim solutions, but concrete proposals from the political world concerning nurseries and schools,” demanded the mother. “In the next few months we want to work, and in the meantime we want to know that the children are in a safe environment,” Eiden said. She believes that children are currently missing out on professional schooling from teachers as well as social contact to their peers.

The NRW state government has announced the first relaxation of the rules from 14 May. Pre-school children who are entitled to benefits from the education and participation package - i.e. children with special needs - will then be allowed to return to nursery. Day care will re-open to all two-year-olds. Privately organised care by parents is also permitted.

NRW Minister for Family Affairs Joachim Stamp (FDP) announced that from 28 May, all pre-schoolers will be able to return to nursery. In June, all children in NRW are to finally return to nursery at least two days before the summer break. Parents are angry and struggling to understand the decisions. “It is a joke that the children are supposed to go to nursery for only two days before the summer break to say goodbye. How are they supposed to deal with that? After months of spending a brief amount of time at nursery and then having a break again - you can do without that altogether.” The initiative “Parents in Crisis” demands a timely opening of day care centres for “all children” and not only for “isolated groups”. This is what the Minister of Family Affairs initially promised, they say.

Basic rights were the subject of another demonstration in Bonn. Former member of parliament Klaus Thüsing and activist Klaus-Josef Fretter gathered about 20 people in front of the former Bundesrat building on Saturday afternoon. The protestors see their basic rights endangered. “Our concern is that freedom of movement, freedom of assembly and the inviolability of the home must continue to play a role in political decisions,” explained Thüsing. Politicians should publicly justify why basic rights are being restricted, he says, and this has not happened so far.

(Original text: Niklas Schröder, Translation: Caroline Kusch)