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German Police Shut Down Pro-Palestine Conference

Above photo: Thousands of police descend on the Palestine Congress in Berlin. Progressive International/X.

Police conducted arrests of attendees.

While German authorities prevented conference guest and Gazan doctor Ghassan Abu Sitta from even entering the country.

On April 12, in another round of repression against Palestine solidarity organizers, German police shut down the Palestine Congress in Berlin, arresting several attendees and ordering delegates to leave immediately. German officials also prohibited scheduled speaker Ghassan Abu Sitta, Palestinian-British surgeon and the rector of Glasgow University, from even entering the country. The Congress aimed to raise awareness about Germany’s charges of complicity in Israeli genocide in the International Court of Justice, which have been raised by Nicaragua.

German police dramatically stormed the stage of the conference and proceeded to shut down speakers after the Congress had already begun, interrupted and stopped the conference livestream, and broke into the control room to shut off the power. Red Media provided live updates to the police repression, reporting that, “900 police are deployed to the congress, whose start they held up for hours. They demanded that organizers allow all German media into the congress, ironically to ‘safeguard free speech’ and then denied entry to most of the registered delegates.”

German police have arrested several activists participating in the Congress, including Jewish activists. Anti-Zionist Jewish activists are heavily targeted in Germany, despite Germany’s attempt to justify its support to Israel as “collective guilt” over the holocaust and repenting for its infamous antisemitism. Yet, according to researcher Emily Dische-Becker, almost a third of those deplatformed, arrested, or otherwise sanctioned for alleged antisemitism are themselves Jewish. Videos from the repression show a Jewish activist being arrested outside of the conference, with police seizing a banner that read “Jew Against Genocide.”

German authorities have staged notable crack downs on the Palestine solidarity movement several times since October 7. Activists claim that while German Jews are indeed arrested for showing solidarity with Palestine, it is the Palestinians that bear the brunt of repression. “We Jews are just getting arrested, the Palestinians are being beaten,” German-Israeli activist Iris Hefets told Al Jazeera. On March 22, the homes of Palestinian activists Said and Yasemin were raided by German police in the middle of the night from their homes in Berlin, with both alleging targeted persecution from German authorities.

 

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