Tens of thou­sands stage anti-racism march in Ber­lin

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Ber­lin, Ger­many - Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple marched in Ber­lin on Satur­day in a protest against racism af­ter grow­ing con­cern over a se­ries of xeno­pho­bic in­ci­dents in the east of the coun­try.

Or­gan­is­ers said at least 150,000 peo­ple turned out for the march, al­though Ber­lin po­lice of­fi­cials were yet to re­lease their own es­ti­mate.

“It’s al­ready a suc­cess,” said Theresa Hart­mann, spokes­woman for the #un­teil­bar (in­di­vis­i­ble) move­ment, who said they had only been ex­pect­ing 40,000 peo­ple to turn up. The marchers walked in balmy weather through the city cen­tre be­fore gath­er­ing at the Bran­den­burg gate where a num­ber of Ger­man groups per­formed.

They shouted anti-Nazi slo­gans and car­ried plac­ards in favour of res­cue mis­sions on the Mediter­ranean Sea and oth­ers say­ing ‘More love, less hate’ and ‘No room for Nazis’.

The #un­teil­bar col­lec­tive, made up of a num­ber of ac­tivist groups and in­di­vid­u­als, has al- ready staged demon­stra­tions in the north­ern city of Ham­burg and Mu­nich in the south, that at­tracted thou­sands. They are sup­ported by trade unions, re­li­gious or­gan­i­sa­tions and some char­i­ties. For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas, a mem­ber of the So­cial Demo­cratic Party (SPD), posted a mes­sage of sup­port on Twit­ter.

The march was partly in re­sponse to the rise of the anti-im­mi­gra­tion Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) party.

Build­ing on the back­lash to Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s de­ci­sion to ad­mit more than a mil­lion refugees in 2015 and 2016, it won its first par­lia­men­tary seats in elec­tions last year.

At the end of Au­gust a far­right demon­stra­tion in the east­ern city of Chem­nitz af­ter the mur­der of a Ger­man that was blamed on a refugee de­gen­er­ated into at­tacks on for­eign­ers. Early in Oc­to­ber, Ger­man po­lice ar­rested six men on sus­pi­cion of hav­ing taken part in the at­tacks, de­scrib­ing them as mem­bers of a far-right ‘ter­ror­ist’ group.

(AFP)

Demon­stra­tors gather be­tween the Bran­den­burg Gate and the Vic­tory Col­umn dur­ing a march or­gan­ised by the group ‘Un­teil­bar’, in Ber­lin’s Tier­garten dis­trict on Satur­day

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