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Thursday, May 2

11,000 join “peaceful and relaxed” demonstration for May 1

Despite police fears over secret stone depots and anti-Israel speech, the Berlin May 1 protest was largely peaceful.

Photo: IMAGO / Carsten Thesing

Thursday, May 2

11,600 join “peaceful and relaxed” demonstration for Revolutionary May 1

The lead up to Berlin’s annual May Day demonstration was unusually tense. The organisers of the Revolutionary May Day had sought to make international anti-war solidarity the focus of the march, and Berlin responded by bringing 6,200 police to the streets of the city and authorities promising to take “immediate” action against any anti-Israeli speech. In the end, however, there were no major incidents, with the police talking up a “peaceful and relaxed” atmosphere on the day.

Organisers put the number of participants at 30,000; according to police, the number was 11,600. The dominant theme of the protest was solidarity with the Palestinian cause: flags and banners could be seen and chants of “Free Free Palestine” rang out throughout. Six people were reportedly arrested, although that number may rise.

Before the demonstration, police posted on X their concerns that organisers had set up secret depots of stones and roof tiling, which they feared would be thrown by violent demonstrators. Police promised to fly helicopters over the route to discover more, but later in the day they seemed to backtrack, commenting: “We are clarifying whether there are also construction sites that we were not previously aware of”.

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