Thursday 20 June 2024

Berlin temporarily bans pro-Palestine protests citing 'public interest'

In an extraordinary move, authorities say anti-Israeli statements at previous rallies are enough to ban future ones.

German police in Berlin have banned all pro-Palestinian demonstrations until 2 May citing "antisemitic statements" made by some protesters during recent protests. 


Following two years of pandemic-related restrictions, Sunday will see the return of Berlin’s May Day celebrations.


At least 15 separate demonstrations are scheduled for the comeback events. In the past, protests like these have drawn tens of thousands of people with an atmosphere somewhere between a street party and a full-blown riot.


Yet in an unprecedented move, police have banned all pro-Palestinian protests until 2 May.


At least one was scheduled for Friday 29 April on the occasion of International Quds Day under the title "protest against Israeli aggression in Jerusalem". The ban applied to this and any other “replacement protests,” which organisers sometimes use to try to circumvent bans. 


In announcing the decision, Berlin police highlighted “unacceptable antisemitism” at pro-Palestine protests last week, where they say some of the several hundred protesters on 22 and 23 April made antisemitic statements.


Berlin is home to the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East and has more than 25,000 residents with a Palestinian background.


Many live in Kreuzberg and Neukölln, the neighbourhoods in which pro-Palestinian protests, including last week’s, typically take place.


In the past year, several journalists with Palestinian roots have been fired over alleged antisemitic statements. In the case of Nemi el-Hassan, these included liking Instagram posts by the organisation Jewish Voice for Peace.

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