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Berlin Police Disperse Pro-Palestinian Protest Camp

Berlin police clear camp of pro-Palestinian protests (Credits: Washington Post)

German police on Friday moved to clear a pro-Palestinian protest camp, which had been set up outside the Chancellery building in Berlin since early April.

The camp consisted of around 20 tents housing around 20 people who have been demanding an end to German arms shipments to the Israeli military and what they call the “criminalization” of the Palestinian solidarity movement while also carrying out other activities such as workshops.

“Germany must end weapons exports and stop enabling the Israeli genocide, the starvation, the blockade, the bombing,” protest organizer Jara Nassar told DW. “It all has to end.”

Berlin police move to clear pro-Palestinian protest camp (Credits: WSWS)

Police said protesters had repeatedly breached restrictions, such as those protecting green areas, and committed criminal offenses, including incitement to hatred and the use of unconstitutional symbols and forbidden slogans.

“Protection of gatherings cannot be guaranteed at this point because public safety and order are at risk,” said police spokesperson Anja Dierschke. Protesters, however, claimed they had been peaceful but harassed by police every single day, who had given them “stupid restrictions.”

“They’ve forbidden us from using languages which aren’t German or English, they have criminalized our prayers, our songs, our workshops, and now their official reasoning is that we had a sofa which was damaging the grass … In Germany, damaging the lawn is worse than committing genocide,” said Nassar.

Israel has denied accusations that its ongoing military operation in Gaza, which it says is aimed at destroying the Palestinian militant group Hamas, constitutes genocide.

More than 1,200 people were killed in the October 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel, and more than 200 hostages were abducted, of which more than 130 are thought to remain in captivity. Hamas is designated as a terror organization by Germany, the US, and other countries.

Police said efforts to clear the camp began peacefully. Still, when around 150 officers began tearing down tents, further people joined the protesters in solidarity, with around 100 people huddling together and refusing to leave. Officers began carrying protesters away one by one, but still had not managed to evict them all by early Friday afternoon.

Pro-Palestinian protests held in Germany (Credits: Premium Times Nigeria)

Confronted with accusations of police violence, the spokesperson told DW: “If people do not comply with the request to leave, are not prepared to stand up, do not comply with the requests, then several colleagues will take action and carry the person [away]. This is a coercive measure which is protected by law.”

Protest organizer Nassar said: “Free speech and freedom of assembly in Germany doesn’t exist for people who show solidarity with Palestine.”

The protests and the clearance of the camp came after similar demonstrations led to clashes with police on US campuses and also in Paris earlier this week. “We look at what is happening in the US with admiration …

There is no reason to believe we should stop now,” said Udi Raz, a Ph.D. student at Berlin’s Free University and a member of the Jewish Voice for Peace association, which describes itself as a “progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization.”

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