Monday 11, December
Separate demonstrations in Berlin protest antisemitism and weapons sales
Ever since the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas, the political fractures of German public opinion have been visible in the demonstrations taking place on the streets of Berlin. This was the case again this weekend, as rival protests of a similar size took place on Sunday.
Politicians and celebrities gathered at Brandenburg Gate in a demonstration against antisemitism, marching under the slogan “Never again is now”. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was in attendance, as was Berlin mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) and various other politicians and notable personalities, all of whom turned out to express support for Israel and to condemn rising antisemitism. There have been a number of worrying incidents in Berlin have risen since the war began such as a violent attack on a synagogue and racist graffiti on a Jewish-owned Kneipe. The total crowd at this demonstration numbered somewhere near 3,000, police estimated – though one speaker at the event declared, “Too few people came.”
Meanwhile, just a few kilometres away, another demonstration marched through the streets declaring “Solidarity with Palestine – no weapons for genocide”. This protest gathered outside the Berlin headquarters of the SPD at Willy Brandt House and marched through central Berlin, calling for Germany to end its exportation of arms to Israel at a time when they believe the country is engaged in the systematic killing of the people of Gaza. Police estimated there were about 2,500 people in attendance.