On March 4, 2017, starting at 14:00, a few hundred people gathered at Washingtonplatz near Hauptbahnhof for the kick-off event to the fifth demonstration in a series under the slogan „Merkel muss weg“. Meanwhile, Berlin gegen Nazis own inflatable bear marked the counter protest organized by Berliner Bündnisses gegen Rechts at Washingtonplatz. Simultaneously with the right-wing extremist’s demonstration, the participatory event of Berlin gegen Nazis commenced.
Under the slogan “Noise against Nazis” a few hundred people shouted and called and whistled and clapped and on arrival of the demonstration organized by Berliner Bündnis gegen Rechts, more than 1500 Berliners presented the right-wing extremist’s speakers with waves of noise. For more than one hour it was loud and clear that racists and neo-Nazis are not welcome in Berlin yet again in 2017. At 16:00, the right-wing extremist demonstration, by now counting about 1000 participants, set itself in motion towards Alexanderplatz. On route through Spandauer Vorstadt, protest from the residents of flats and offices were only sporadically seen. Due to a sit-in blockade on Torstraße, the demonstration was rerouted by the police along Linienstraße. Our partner organization Jüdisches Forum für Demokratie und gegen Antisemitismus (JFDA) give a brief insight into the events in their video report here (Videomitschnitt).
The high number of participants of the right-wing extremist demonstration, of about 1000 people (400-700 according to the press), corresponds to the estimate concerning the organizer’s capability of mobilization given by Mobile Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus Berlin (MBR) prior to the demonstration. Berlin gegen Nazis agrees with the assessment that the regularly “Merkel muss weg” events have established themselves in Berlin. apabiz, who state the following in their report on the events, share this evaluation too:
It was in particular in the rear end of the march that neo-Nazi chantings such as “Nationaler Sozialismus jetzt“ and “Frei, Sozial und National“ were heard. Journalists were threatened with assaults in slogans such as „Lügenpresse, auf die Fresse!“. And this was not the end of story. Several assaults occurred near the demonstration. A cameraman was shoved his camera off the shoulder, a photographer’s camera was splashed with soda.
The following right-wing extremist demonstration of the series is scheduled to take place on July 1, 2017, this time under the slogan “Merkel und Schulz müssen weg“. Berlin gegen Nazis appeals to all citizens of Berlin to seize the time until July 1 to organizes a variety of creative, loud, and productive protest and not let the Nazis take the streets. Especially not a residential neighborhood such as Spandauer Vorstadt, one of the few spaces of a visibly vibrant Jewish life in Berlin.
These are the affected roads: Starting point each time Washingtonplatz/Hauptbahnhof.
- The first demonstration (March 12, 2016) went to Brandenburger Tor.
- The second demonstration (May 7, 2016) went to S-Friedrichstraße past Regierungsviertel.
- The third demonstration (July 30, 2016) went in a circular track though Regierungsviertel back to Hauptbahnhof.
- The fourth demonstration (November 5, 2016) went though Spandauer Vorstadt, thus passing a residential area for the first time, to Alexanderplatz. This is also the neighborhood where Neue Synagoge is located as well as numerous Jewish institutions and shops.
- The fifth demonstration (March 4, 2017) went on the same route as the previous one. Due to a sit-in blockade on Torstraße, it was re-routed by the police to Linienstraße towards Alexanderplatz. The final part of both marches passed though the historic neighborhood of Scheunenviertel, where, in 1923, anti-Semitic pogroms occurred.
Berlin gegen Nazis is ready to take up your ideas and thoughts (Impulse, Ideen) on what a powerful statement against racism, right-wing extremist and anti-Semitism could be on July 1, 2017. Berlin gegen Nazis is happy to assist you in their realization and will also offer a participatory event for everyone to counter-protest the right-wing extremist demonstration. We’ll keep you posted!
Photos of the day documenting the protest against the right-wing extremist demonstration on March 4