AfD youth wing furious over Berlin pride parade ban

The youth wing of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has complained after being denied a stall at this year’s Berlin Pride event, Christopher Street Day (CSD), saying it has been unfairly excluded.

AfD youth wing furious over Berlin pride parade ban
CSD in Berlin in 2017. Photo: DPA

CSD organizers have rejected an application by David Eckert, head of the Berlin chapter of AfD youth wing Junge Alternative, for a stall at Europe’s largest LGBT street party at the end of July.

Eckert, 26, took to Facebook to complain about the decision, publishing what he claimed was an email from CSD organizers saying that “people and organizations who try to create a climate of fear and exclusion such as the AfD … are not welcome” at the parade.   

The Berlin AfD youth leader accompanied the post with an explosive three minute video in which he claimed to represent conservative elements of the LGBT community who rejected mass immigration.

“Not every gay person wears vinyl and leather, struts around with a handbag and paints their nails,” said Eckert, citing a poll suggesting 12 percent of German LGBT voters supported the AfD.

SEE ALSO: 'I came to Berlin for Gay Pride 6 years ago, and never left'

Eckert added that the AfD saw itself as a “balwark” against illegal migrants, the majority of which he claimed supported Sharia law and came from places where gays faced violence and persecution. 

AfD leader Alice Weidel, herself a lesbian, has recently tried to reposition her party as protecting gays from immigrants, but has made no mention of LGBT refugees and asylum seekers who may themselves be fleeing such persecution.

In the past Eckert has got into hot water for comments about memorials to homosexual victims of the Nazis. Back in April 2017, while working for the AfD in Düsseldorf, Eckert questioned in a number of Facebook posts whether homosexual victims of Nazi persecution should be given their own memorial.

“Why should Nazi victims be differentiated between when they are commemorated?” he wrote on Facebook in response to news of a new memorial to homosexual victims at Ravensbrueck concentration camp. 

Christopher Street Day is an event held across Europe in memory of the New York Stonewall Riots in 1969. The Berlin event, which attracts an average of 500,000 attendees every year, is celebrating its 40th year this year under the motto: “My body, my identity, my life.”

Last year's event, which was held in the run up to the 2017 election, took place under the motto: “More of us every vote against the right.”

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EXPLAINED: Berlin’s latest Covid rules

In response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infection rates, the Berlin Senate has introduced stricter rules, which came into force on Saturday, November 27th. Here's what you need to know.

A sign in front of a waxing studio in Berlin indicates the rule of the 2G system
A sign in front of a waxing studio indicates the rule of the 2G system with access only for fully vaccinated people and those who can show proof of recovery from Covid-19 as restrictions tighten in Berlin. STEFANIE LOOS / AFP

The Senate agreed on the tougher restrictions on Tuesday, November 23rd with the goal of reducing contacts and mobility, according to State Secretary of Health Martin Matz (SPD).

He explained after the meeting that these measures should slow the increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was important as “the situation had, unfortunately, deteriorated over the past weeks”, according to media reports.

READ ALSO: Tougher Covid measures needed to stop 100,000 more deaths, warns top German virologist

Essentially, the new rules exclude from much of public life anyone who cannot show proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19. You’ll find more details of how different sectors are affected below.

If you haven’t been vaccinated or recovered (2G – geimpft (vaccinated) or genesen (recovered)) from Covid-19, then you can only go into shops for essential supplies, i.e. food shopping in supermarkets or to drugstores and pharmacies.

Many – but not all – of the rules for shopping are the same as those passed in the neighbouring state of Brandenburg in order to avoid promoting ‘shopping tourism’ with different restrictions in different states.

2G applies here, too, as well as the requirement to wear a mask with most places now no longer accepting a negative test for entry. Only minors are exempt from this requirement.

Sport, culture, clubs
Indoor sports halls will off-limits to anyone who hasn’t  been vaccinated or can’t show proof of recovery from Covid-19. 2G is also in force for cultural events, such as plays and concerts, where there’s also a requirement to wear a mask. 

In places where mask-wearing isn’t possible, such as dance clubs, then a negative test and social distancing are required (capacity is capped at 50 percent of the maximum).

Restaurants, bars, pubs (indoors)
You have to wear a mask in all of these places when you come in, leave or move around. You can only take your mask off while you’re sat down. 2G rules also apply here.

Hotels and other types of accommodation 
Restrictions are tougher here, too, with 2G now in force. This means that unvaccinated people can no longer get a room, even if they have a negative test.

For close-contact services, such as hairdressers and beauticians, it’s up to the service providers themselves to decide whether they require customers to wear masks or a negative test.

Football matches and other large-scale events
Rules have changed here, too. From December 1st, capacity will be limited to 5,000 people plus 50 percent of the total potential stadium or arena capacity. And only those who’ve been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in. Masks are also compulsory.

For the Olympic Stadium, this means capacity will be capped at 42,000 spectators and 16,000 for the Alte Försterei stadium. 

3G rules – ie vaccinated, recovered or a negative test – still apply on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and buses in Berlin. It was not possible to tighten restrictions, Matz said, as the regulations were issued at national level.

According to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases, people have to wear a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask  on public transport.

Christmas markets
The Senate currently has no plans to cancel the capital’s Christmas markets, some of which have been open since Monday. 

According to Matz, 2G rules apply and wearing a mask is compulsory.

Schools and day-care
Pupils will still have to take Covid tests three times a week and, in classes where there are at least two children who test positive in the rapid antigen tests, then tests should be carried out daily for a week.  

Unlike in Brandenburg, there are currently no plans to move away from face-to-face teaching. The child-friendly ‘lollipop’ Covid tests will be made compulsory in day-care centres and parents will be required to confirm that the tests have been carried out. Day-care staff have to document the results.

What about vaccination centres?
Berlin wants to expand these and set up new ones, according to Matz. A new vaccination centre should open in the Ring centre at the end of the week and 50 soldiers from the German army have been helping at the vaccination centre at the Exhibition Centre each day since last week.

The capacity in the new vaccination centre in the Lindencenter in Lichtenberg is expected to be doubled. There are also additional vaccination appointments so that people can get their jabs more quickly. Currently, all appointments are fully booked well into the new year.