HomeTop StoriesBerlin police brace for backlash after ban on Palestinian Congress

Berlin police brace for backlash after ban on Palestinian Congress

Following the cancellation of a controversial ‘Palestinian Congress’ scheduled to take place in Berlin for three days, the city’s police force was forcefully prepared for spontaneous protests on Saturday.

Police broke up the pro-Palestinian conference in Berlin’s Tempelhof district on Friday and asked around 250 participants to leave the venue, just two hours after the event started.

The conference organizers had condemned Israel’s ongoing military offensive in the Gaza Strip and attacked the German government’s support for the Israeli government.

According to the police, organizers had registered a demonstration of 1,500 people for Saturday against the ban on the event. A police spokesperson said the assembly area will be protected accordingly.

Despite a quiet night in the capital, police were out in large numbers on Saturday to monitor the situation, with reinforcements available if necessary.

“The number of officers we deploy on Saturday will depend on the situation,” a spokeswoman said in the morning. Originally, approximately 900 officers were expected to supervise the second day of the conference.

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The reason given by authorities was a video broadcast of a speech by a man banned from political activity in Germany for hate speech against Israel and Jews.

When the man spoke, police along with several officers intervened, cut the broadcast and temporarily turned off the power.

According to a police spokeswoman, authorities saw the danger “that such anti-Semitic, glorifying violence and Holocaust-denying speeches could be repeated during the event.”

The decision therefore applies not only to Friday, but also to Saturday and Sunday, she added.

Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser praised the efforts of the police on X, formerly Twitter.

“It is right and necessary that the Berlin police crack down on the so-called Palestinian Congress. We do not tolerate Islamic propaganda and hatred against Jews,” Faeser wrote.

The police union also called the crackdown by officers a “strong signal towards those who exploit our democracy or doubt the assertiveness of the police in the capital.”

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“Anyone who wants to take advantage of our democratic opportunities must also comply with regulations and laws,” regional head Stephan Weh said in a press release.

Police officers interrupt the 2024 Palestine Congress in Berlin.  German police broke up a pro-Palestinian conference in the capital Berlin on Friday, asking around 250 participants to leave the venue just two hours into the three-day event.  Officers had already intervened at the event during a video speech by an activist banned from political activity in Germany.  Michael Kuenne/PRESSCOV via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa

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