Protests against Israeli action – riots in Berlin | Free press


Berlin (dpa) – Impressed by growing violence in the Middle East, people took to the streets in numerous German cities on Saturday to protest Israel’s actions and express their solidarity with the Palestinians.

At the same time, there were also small solidarity gatherings for the Israeli population in many places. Several pro-Palestinian demonstrations led to incidents and isolated riots.

In Berlin, protesters beat police officers and threw stones and bottles at them. Fireworks were also thrown. The police used pepper spray. According to her, there were injuries and arrests, a police spokesperson did not initially name any specific figures.

The Berlin police had initially declared the protest dissolved for violation of the Corona hygiene rules. Because protesters did not obey orders, officials in Neukölln district took action against them. Shouts like “child murderer Israel”, “woman murderer Israel” and “free Palestine” rose from the crowd.

A total of three pro-Palestinian demonstrations were registered in Berlin on Saturday. According to the police, about 2500 people moved from Oranienplatz to Hermannplatz in the afternoon. A demonstration with about 120 participants in the afternoon from Hermannplatz to Neukölln Town Hall had gone peacefully. During the afternoon, the police expanded their armed forces from 360 to 600 officers.

A demonstration was also canceled in Hamburg. The mood among the 400 to 500 participants was very emotional, said a police spokesperson. The situation got worse when people with Israeli flags showed up.

Police say about 800 people in Cologne demonstrated against Israel and for Palestine. They waved Palestinian flags and signs with inscriptions such as “Freedom for Palestine” and “Stop the Genocide”, as well as “Against Zionists – not Jews”. In most cities the demonstrations were peaceful.

In addition to the current escalation in the Middle East, the background of the rallies in many places was also the day of the Nakba (catastrophe). Every year on May 15, Palestinians commemorate the expulsion and flight of hundreds of thousands of Arabs during the founding of the State of Israel in 1948.

The conflict between Israel and the ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip had escalated early this week. Militant Palestinians are constantly bombarding Israel with missiles – the number recently reached around 2,300, according to the Israeli military. Israel is responding with massive attacks in the coastal area.

The mood between Israelis and Middle Eastern Arabs has also been heated in many places in Germany. In recent days, there have been attacks on synagogues and anti-Semitic incidents in several German cities.

Politicians and representatives of religious communities strongly condemned attacks on synagogues and anti-Jewish slogans. Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht called for Israel’s side. “We are all asked to take a clear stand when Jews are being attacked – whether on the Internet or in real life,” the SPD politician said in the Funke media group’s papers (Saturday).

Representatives of Muslim communities also found clear words on Saturday. The chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman ​​Mazyek, condemned the recent violence against synagogues. “Anyone who attacks synagogues and Jews under the guise of criticizing Israel has lost any right to solidarity,” he said in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. He strongly condemned the “disgusting attacks against our fellow Jewish citizens” of the past few days.

“Anyone who complains about racism, but spreads anti-Semitic hatred themselves, is losing all credibility and should expect my determined resistance,” Mazyek wrote.

The chairman of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council (BZI), Memet Kilic, had previously sharply criticized open anti-Semitism. The freedom of expression and assembly guaranteed in Germany is not “a free ticket to anti-Semitic hate speech and violence,” Kilic said.

At the same time, Kilic pointed out that in connection with the conflict in the Middle East, the mood towards Muslims and migrants had become “rougher and more ruthless”. The Middle East conflict should not provide “an alibi space for group-related hostility and attacks” on migrants, he warned, calling on all parties to uphold basic democratic values.