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Police operation in Neukölln: "Never again is now"


IMAGO/dts News Agency

There have been several riots in recent days at pro-Palestine demonstrations in Berlin – especially around Sonnenallee in Neukölln. On Wednesday evening, the police provisionally arrested 174 people, as they now announced. Authorities expect something similar on Thursday evening.

850 police officers were deployed to prevent demonstrations in which anti-Semitic incitement and violence were feared. About 1000,<> demonstrators gathered on the streets on Wednesday evening, according to the dpa news agency from police circles. But only some of them are responsible for riots, often it is certain groups. Most other people are onlookers.

The police union (GdP) speaks of a "religious war" that is being waged on Berlin's streets. Those who seek our protection, our hospitality and our democratic coexistence cannot oppose our laws and demand a claim to protection for themselves."

A Palestine initiative, on the other hand, criticized the bans on demonstrations. "If the German state consistently denies the Palestinian community the fundamental right to protest, to mourn publicly or to express their identity, civil disobedience is almost inevitable." Palestinian groups continue to call for protests on the Internet.

The Berlin anti-Semitism commissioner Samuel Salzborn spoke on RBB about the solidarity of German leftists with Islamists, while the Amadeu Antonio Foundation accused demonstrating left-wing groups of anti-Semitism.

Berlin's Governing Mayor Kai Wegner reacted with urgent words to the incidents of the past few days. "It is a shame that we have to experience anti-Semitism on our streets," the CDU politician said in a government statement in the House of Representatives. The protection of Jewish life is non-negotiable, Wegner said: "Never again is now."

Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) demanded on RBB that agitation and propaganda for terror must be dealt with with the utmost severity. "Anyone who demonstrates for peace, who speaks out in favor of the two-state solution, who wants to express their grief and do so peacefully, can do so and should do so if it suits their need." What is not possible is to incite against Jews under the guise of a peace demonstration.

Meanwhile, the Berlin Public Prosecutor's Office took over the investigation into the attempted arson attack on a synagogue in Berlin's Mitte district. The reason was the escalating nature of the attack due to the situation in the Middle East and the demonstrations in Berlin. On Wednesday evening, two masked perpetrators threw so-called Molotov cocktails in the direction of the Kahal Adass Yisroel Synagogue in Brunnenstrasse. The incendiary devices hit the pavement, there were no casualties.

The police now want to protect endangered Jewish institutions with more barriers. "When it comes to protecting objects, we have to rely more on technology. For example, we will fence off synagogues and other objects more strongly," police chief Barbara Slowik told the newspaper B.Z. At the same time, the police want to search the Internet even more intensively in order to counter calls for violence. "We have intensified our research on the Internet. But even there are closed groups that we don't intrude on."

A rumor on the Internet, according to which a 13-year-old youth died in the riots and police operations on the Middle East conflict on Wednesday evening in Neukölln, is circulating "on various social media channels," the police said on the Internet platform X. It's a fake," they said. During the arrest of suspects, there was also resistance and physical violence with injuries, it said, but: "No one died yesterday because of this."