Criticism and protests in Berlin following the cancellation of the Palestine Conference

Berlin – dpa

Published on: Saturday, April 13, 2024 – 8:08 PM | Last updated: Saturday, April 13, 2024 – 8:08 PM

The decision to cancel the controversial “Palestine Conference” yesterday in Berlin was followed by criticism and protests on Saturday.

The conference was scheduled to last for three days, but it was suspended two hours after its start.

Conference organizers stated that the police undermined democratic rights by canceling the event.

The streets of Berlin also witnessed several protests, and police forces were deployed in the city in large numbers.

Yesterday, Friday, the police broke up the pro-Palestinian conference in the Tempelhof district in Berlin, and asked about 250 participants to leave the conference venue, just two hours after the start of the conference, which was scheduled to last three days.

The conference organizers criticized the ongoing Israeli military aggression against the Gaza Strip, and attacked the German government’s support for the Israeli government.

Lawyer Nadia Samour said on Saturday, on behalf of the organizers, that the police measures were completely disproportionate and that less extreme measures could have been taken.

She stated that the police thwarted all attempts to protect the gathering. She added that no criminal statements had been made, a fact acknowledged by the police.

The police canceled the conference yesterday, and the reason given by the authorities was broadcasting a video of a speech by a man banned from political activity in Germany due to hate speech against Israel and Jews.

When the activist spoke, the police cut off the transmission and cut off electricity for a period from the headquarters of the “Palestine Conference,” which is organized by various pro-Palestinian groups.

According to a police spokesman, the authorities saw a danger “that such anti-Semitic rhetoric, glorification of violence and Holocaust denial may be repeated during this event.”

Sammour pointed out that the organizers were not aware of the ban and had been informed of it shortly before the event was held. She added that the police action was illegal from the organizers’ point of view and that an objection had been submitted to the police so that they could continue with the gathering.

Many people demonstrated against the cancellation of the event in rallies run by the conference organizers. The demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Long live Palestine” and “Palestine will never die” during the protests.

A small group gathered near them carrying Israeli flags.

Interior Minister Nancy Wieser praised the police efforts on the X website (formerly Twitter), writing: “It is right and necessary for the Berlin police to take strict measures against the so-called Palestine Conference. We do not tolerate Islamist propaganda and hatred against Jews.”

The police union also called the cancellation of the conference by police “a strong signal to those who take advantage of our democracy or question the decisiveness of D.C. police forces.”

“Anyone who wants to benefit from our democratic opportunities must also abide by the regulations and laws,” the union’s regional president, Stefan Veh, said in a press release.

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