Berlin police crack down on pro-Palestine demos amid rising antisemitic attacks

Berlin police crack down on pro-Palestine demos amid rising antisemitic attacks

An increase in antisemitic attacks and a ban on pro-Palestine symbols and demonstrations have led to rising tensions in Berlin and the rest of Germany over the past 10 days. Meanwhile, Scholz has delivered a speech to the Bundestag following his trip to Israel.

174 arrested at pro-Palestine demonstration in Berlin

Since the Hamas attack in Israel on October 7 and Israeli airstrikes and the siege on Gaza, tensions have been rising in Berlin. The night of Wednesday, October 18 saw clashes between police and pro-Palestine protesters in the district of Neukölln, which ended in 174 attendees being arrested at the unauthorised event.

Using pepper spray and water cannons, police have broken up a number of demonstrations across Berlin since the weekend, when the authorities extended a ban on pro-Palestine symbols. The Palestinian flag, the Keffiyeh scarf and pro-Palestine demonstrations have been forbidden, including one organised under the title Jewish Berliners Against Middle Eastern Violence.

Police say that such demonstrations have been banned because attendees at previous events spread antisemitic messages and that future events could lead to further antisemitic violence. 

Speaking to Deutsche Welle at a demonstration last week, one protestor criticised the decision, “We all [condemn] violence. We are all not, because we are pro-Palestine, with Hamas, that’s not what we are saying. We want to have the freedom of speech and be able to send solidarity to the people who cannot speak for themselves." In an interview with Reuters, deputy director of Human Rights Watch Benjamin Ward said Jewish communities must be protected, but the organisation is also concerned about whether it is proportionate to ban pro-Palestine protests.

Central Berlin synagogue targeted in antisemitic attack

The capital has seen a worrying rise in the number of antisemitic attacks against the Jewish community in recent days. Since the events of October 7, a number of Jewish people living in Berlin have found a Star of David graffitied near their houses.

A Molotov cocktail attack on a central Berlin synagogue in the early hours of October 18 has led to deep concern. Speaking to the BBC, the synagogue’s director Anna Segel told the broadcaster that Jewish people were feeling increasingly threatened. "We knew it was only a matter of time and it's not the end,” Segel said.

Responding to the events, which happened during his visit to Israel, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, “antisemitism has no place in Germany".

Since the attack on October 7, the chancellor has stressed that "[Germany's] history, our responsibility for the Holocaust makes it our duty in every moment to stand for the existence and security of Israel." Speaking in the Bundestag upon his return from Israel, Scholz reaffirmed Germany’s support, saying that people in Gaza were “at the mercy of Hamas”. The chancellor said that during his meetings in Israel, Jordan and Egypt he had explored ways of making humanitarian aid deliveries to Gaza possible.

On October 20, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock announced that Germany has pledged to deliver 50 million euros in aid to people in Gaza.

Thumb image credit: Valentin Baciu /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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