Germany: More than 200 000 people protest discrimination, neo-Nazism and racism
On Saturday, 13 October, more than 200 000 people attended a demonstration against racism, the ultra-right and xenophobia in Berlin, many more than were anticipated, according to public broadcaster Deutsche Welle. Organizers estimated that 242 000 people turned out for the protest.
Before the event just 40 000 had registered their participation. According to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), German Police did not want to confirm any numbers and spoke of just "several tens of thousands" of attendees.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) and the news server Spiegel Online reported 150 000 protesters. The protest, held beneath the slogan "For an open and free society - solidarity, not exclusion" was convened by the Unteilbar (Indivisible) group, which did so to express disagreement with the deaths of asylum-seekers in the Mediterranean Sea, discrimination, social system cuts and ultra-right hatred.
The demonstration began at noon on Alexanderplatz and roughly one hour later the crowd carrying balloons, banners and posters walked to the Victory Column near the Bellevue, the presidential palace. The march route led past Potsdamer Platz and then to the Brandenburg Gate.
The protesters carried banners reading "Racism is no alternative", "Solidarity with victims of right-wing, racist and antisemitic violence", "Let's build bridges, not walls" and "Together against racism". Many other organizations and political parties joined the Unteilbar effort.
Support for the event was also expressed by famous celebrities such as the actor Benno Fürmann, television moderator Jan Böhmermann, and the singer Herbert Grönemeyer, who is popular in German-speaking countries. Similar events happened Saturday in other German cities.
About 1 000 people protested against the anti-immigration, eurosceptic Alternatve for Germany (AfD) party in Frankfurt. In Karlsruhe, roughly 2 000 people took to the streets to express disagreement with "nationalist and racist incitement".
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