From anger over lockdown measures to a purported vaccine plan by Bill Gates, the growing wave of demonstrations in Germany by conspiracy theorists, extremists and anti-vaxxers against coronavirus measures has alarmed even Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Initially starting as a handful of protesters decrying tough restrictions on public life to halt transmission of the coronavirus, the protests have grown in recent weeks to gatherings of thousands in major German cities.

Meanwhile, German police said on Saturday that they have launched an investigation after a tombstone was placed in front of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s electoral offices as part of the protests.

Red roses and candles were placed around the mock tombstone, which bore the inscription: ‘Freedom of the press, freedom of opinion, movement and assemblies – Democracy 1990-2020’, according to the police.