Berlin police on alert for anti-Semitic acts at rallies

Protesters clash with police during a left-wing May Day demonstration, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Berlin, Germany

Police in Berlin are on guard for anti-Semitic outbursts at two pro-Palestinian rallies set to take place in the German capital city on Saturday.

Around 2,000 people are expected to attend the larger of the two protests, dpa news agency reported.

Organisers of the Potsdamer Platz event describe it as a “rally against Israeli aggression in Palestine”.

Some 3,000 police officers will be on duty at the weekend to ensure public safety and crowd control, including monitoring a major demonstration on Sunday against rent prices in the German capital.

The focus, however, is on the protests that have cropped up in German cities recently as the fighting between Hamas militants and Israel intensified.

The two sides struck a ceasefire that went into effect on Friday.

Some of the demonstrations have seen Israeli flag burned, Hamas flags flown and anti-Semitic slogans shouted, with skirmishes erupting between police and protesters.

The activity has prompted German politicians to demand tougher measures against acts seen as anti-Semitic.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video message that Germany’s constitution, or Basic Law, “guarantees the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.

“But it leaves no room for attacks against people of other faiths, no room for violence, racism and agitation.

“Anyone who brings hatred of Jews onto our streets, who expresses seditious insults, is outside of our Basic Law. Such acts must be punished consistently and have noticeable consequences for the perpetrators,” Merkel said.

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