Pro-Palestine demonstrators say they are outcasts at German anti-fascist march | News of the Israeli war on Gaza
Berlin Germany – When Yasmin Akar heard that senior German far-right politicians were Holding meetings To discuss mass deportation plans, she felt anxious, especially since she had Turkish Kurdish roots.
She decided to join street protests against the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party on January 21, which were eventually attended by more than 100,000 Germans.
“It was very important for me personally to be there. As people with migrant backgrounds in Germany, we are more vulnerable to racist attacks, especially from people who vote for the AfD.”
She and her friends raised banners bearing slogans condemning fascists and the far right. They also wanted to raise their Palestinian flags, seeing this moment as an opportunity to show their solidarity with Gaza amid the brutal Israeli attack, and given the AfD’s position on Palestine.
“(But) I felt a little nervous to be honest, knowing that the majority of people there would be white Germans. “Even though they seem to be against racism, fascism and the right-wing wave in Germany, they are still against us as well,” she said.
The AfD is known for its hostility towards people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. It also has an aggressive stance towards Palestine.
The far-right force has previously shown strong support for Israel, despite Jewish groups calling it anti-Semitic, and called for cuts in aid and financial support to the Palestinians in October, long before many Western countries did. Withdrawal of funding for UNRWA.
As of press time, AfD officials had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
Shortly after Akar arrived at the protest, she felt unwelcome.
“As we were on our way to the demonstration, spreading our flags, we could immediately see the looks. We could literally feel the looks, the dirty looks, and it didn’t take long until we were attacked,” she said.
Some demonstrators asked them to lower Palestinian flags, saying that they did not fit with the demands of the demonstration.
Others were physical. Akar said she and her friends were pushed and told: “Leave. Go to your demos. You don’t belong here.”
When she asked a female police officer for help, she was told that paying was not a criminal offence.
“Honestly, it was sad,” Akar said. “I kept having this thought: What if they surround us and start beating us?”
With a large number of people at the anti-far-right protest, the mobile phone network was down.
Ajar and her friends were separated from the rest of the pro-Palestine group of about 150 people.
Once they were reunited, the police surrounded them and asked them to lower their voices.
“We came because we wanted to protest the racist policies of the AfD and the racism prevailing in Germany in general. We assumed that we would have the same rights when we arrived and during the march until we left,” said George Ismail, a pro-Palestine activist who was also at the demonstration.
At one point, police prevented the group from joining the main protest route, and allegedly surrounded them for approximately 90 minutes.
Frustrated and unable to move, the group registered a separate protest with the police.
“At a certain point, we were actually prevented from moving in any direction. That is why we had to announce a separate demonstration and record it. This was never our intention. The police know this,” said Ismail, who is also a doctoral student.
A Berlin police spokesman told Al Jazeera that they were informed of the “Stop the War in Gaza” march on January 21.
“Before the march route was confirmed by the police command, participants attempted to move towards Friedrich Street. “This was initially prohibited, but then allowed shortly thereafter, after the approval of the police leadership.”
“It became clear that we were effectively prevented from joining other protesters. Agar said: “To facilitate our movement, the only option we had was to record a spontaneous demonstration entitled ‘Stop the War on Gaza’.”
At the time of writing, organizers of the anti-AfD protest had not responded to Al Jazeera’s request for comment.
Dror Dayan, a German-Israeli director sympathetic to the pro-Palestine movement, said he was not surprised by the rejection of Agar, Ismail and others.
“This is not new,” he told Al Jazeera. “The mainstream political community does not like the far right to be racist against immigrants, but it does not like to listen to immigrants as much, especially when they question the reason for the German state and show solidarity with Palestine.”
“It is sad that people who protest genocide are being shunned from anti-racist demos by people who apparently support this genocide, but it is not new or surprising.”
The episode comes in Germany, one of Israel’s strongest European alliesHe faces increasing accusations of trying to silence pro-Palestinian support.
The state has banned some demonstrations in support of Gaza Signs are heavily vetted During which it is allowed to proceed. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the Arabs in his country to… Distance themselves From Hamas, a comment that was condemned as an example of collective punishment.
Last month a group of artists described She described Germany’s alleged crackdown as “McCarthyite” when it launched a boycott of government funding institutions.
Looking ahead, more protests against the AfD are expected over the next two weeks.
Pro Azul, a group of people with migrant backgrounds, will lead a march on Saturday in Berlin. Event organizers said everyone would be welcomed at the event, including pro-Palestinian demonstrators.
(Tags for translation) News