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Foreign Minister Baerbock in Baku

Photo: Aziz Karimov / AP

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has defended the actions of the German authorities after individual bans on pro-Palestinian demonstrations. At rallies, "especially in the last few days, which have been banned, we, like I believe every country in the world, are guided by our constitution," Baerbock told journalists in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Saturday. The South Caucasus republic of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea, Turkey's sister state, is predominantly Muslim.

  • You can read a report on her current trip here: Baerbock in search of peace

  • More about the current Pro-Palestinian demonstrations can be found here: Thousands march in Berlin, advertisements in Düsseldorf and Duisburg

Demonstrations would be prohibited if, for example, they violated human dignity, the minister said. She was responding to a question from an Azerbaijani journalist who complained of double standards because, for example, the West repeatedly criticizes the authoritarian approach and the bans on demonstrations in Azerbaijan. Human rights activists complain about massive violations of freedom of expression and assembly, as well as the repression of dissidents in the country.

State media in Azerbaijan and Russia, for example, repeatedly show police action against violent demonstrators or cite bans on demonstrations as examples of how the West itself violates the principle of freedom of assembly and applies double standards. With regard to anti-Israel demonstrations, Baerbock declared that "contempt for humanity is in no way to be tolerated in Germany".

Calls "for collective violence, which has unfortunately taken place in Germany in recent days, namely the extermination of Jews or the annihilation of the State of Israel, are punishable in Germany as in many other countries," the minister said. And that's why the right to freedom of expression and assembly ends at this point when it collides with the other fundamental right, namely human dignity."

The burning of national flags is also a punishable offence in Germany, Baerbock said. "We have seen many, many incidents, especially the demonstration, the burning of Israeli flags. This will be punished without ifs and buts in Germany.« The flags of Muslim countries are also protected accordingly, she stressed.