Thou­sands in Ber­lin protest:

Arab Times - - IN­TER­NA­TIONAL -

Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple protested racism and dis­crim­i­na­tion Satur­day in Ber­lin, a demon­stra­tion that came amid ris­ing con­cerns about Ger­many’s in­creas­ingly con­fi­dent far right.

A wide range of groups, in­clud­ing prorefugee, gay rights and Mus­lim or­ga­ni­za­tions, backed the “In­di­vis­i­ble” protest in the heart of the Ger­man cap­i­tal un­der the slo­gan “sol­i­dar­ity in­stead of ex­clu­sion - for an open and free so­ci­ety.”

Last year’s Ger­man elec­tion saw the far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many party en­ter the na­tional par­lia­ment. Anti-mi­grant vi­o­lence a few weeks ago in the east­ern city of Chem­nitz has added to con­cerns.

Or­ga­niz­ers said at least 150,000 peo­ple turned out Satur­day. There was no im­me­di­ate crowd es­ti­mate from po­lice.

Among back­ers was For­eign Min­is­ter Heiko Maas, who told the Funke news­pa­per group that he wel­comed “a great sig­nal” that “the ma­jor­ity in our coun­try stands for tol­er­ance and openness.”

The lo­cal branch of Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tive party didn’t back the protest, with se­nior of­fi­cial Ste­fan Evers ar­gu­ing that its sup­port­ers in­cluded var­i­ous “du­bi­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.” (AP)

Pope Fran­cis poses with Chile’s Pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Pin­era (left), and his wife Ce­cilia Morel dur­ing a pri­vate au­di­ence at the Vat­i­can on Oct 13.(AFP)

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