By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
BERLIN (AP) — A growing number of people in Germany have joined grassroots initiatives and demonstrations to speak out against vaccination opponents, conspiracy theorists and far-right extremists who have been protesting COVID-19 measures. Tens of thousands have signed manifestos against illegal anti-vaccine demonstrations, while others have formed human chains to push back far-right protesters. Across Germany, the new counter-protesters have turned out for demonstrations in favor of pandemic restrictions and a universal vaccine mandate. On Wednesday, the German parliament will debate a universal vaccine mandate for the first time. President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called on the silent majority to stand up for vaccinations and protect the country’s democracy.