Thousands protest anti-Semitism in Berlin

AFP - [email protected]
Thousands protest anti-Semitism in Berlin
People take part in a demonstration against anti-Semitism on December 10, 2023 at Brandenburger Gate in Berlin. (Photo by MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP)

Several thousand people turned out to demonstrate against anti-Semitism and racism in Berlin on Sunday as the Israel-Hamas war stirred painful memories of the past in Germany.


Around 3,200 people braved the rain to attend the protest march in the heart of the city, according to a police spokeswoman.

Demonstrators rallied under the slogan "never again is now", a reference to the Holocaust and the crimes committed by the Nazi government.

Anti-Semitism had become "commonplace" in society, Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany told the crowd at the protest.

"Sometimes I do not recognise this country," Schuster said.

Germany has registered hundreds of criminal offences linked to the war in Gaza since the conflict was triggered by Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel.

Among those cases were an increasing number of anti-Semitic incidents, including the targeting of a Berlin synagogue with Molotov cocktails in October.

People take part in a rally against anti-Semitism on December 10, 2023 in Berlin.

People take part in a rally against anti-Semitism on December 10, 2023 in Berlin. The banner reads 'Never again is now! Germany stands up'. (Photo by MICHELE TANTUSSI / AFP)

On Sunday, Berlin police said authorities were investigating an incident in the capital in which a swastika was daubed on the door of a house displaying an Israeli flag.


"If you speak Hebrew on the street, I always turn around to see who is behind me," Nadine Meshulam, an Israeli woman living in Berlin told AFP at the protest.

"Lately you worry more simply about everyday life," Meshulam said.

A pro-Palestinian demonstration was also held in the centre of Berlin on Sunday, drawing up to 2,500 people at its peak, according to police.

Israel on Saturday counted 137 hostages who remain in Gaza, out of around 240 taken on October 7 during attacks that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials.

Israel's retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive targeting Hamas has killed at least 17,997 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the latest toll from the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.




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