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Labor Day: Peaceful May 1st in Berlin – Senate takes stock of demos

Labor Day: Peaceful May 1st in Berlin – Senate takes stock of demos

Labor Day is not only a day for the unions, but also for the left-wing scene. The police are therefore on a large scale in Berlin and Hamburg.

The Berlin police reported that the large-scale operation on May 1st was peaceful. At the “Revolutionary May 1st Demonstration” and around 20 other demonstrations, there were only a few disruptions and arrests, said police chief Barbara Slowik on RBB television. However, Slowik made it clear that the police also wanted to be present in the city at night in order to prevent crimes.

This also applied to the countless people celebrating in Berlin. There was a party atmosphere in many parts of the city. It wasn’t just Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg that was full of people and cordoned off. Although the usual Myfest street festival was also canceled this year, tens of thousands celebrated on the streets and squares in Kreuzberg during the day in warm weather and bright sunshine. It was packed to capacity in Görlitzer Park and other green spaces such as the Schlesischer Busch in Alt-Treptow. The police spoke of a “peaceful and relaxed atmosphere”.

Police announce detailed assessment

Today the Berlin House of Representatives wants to deal with the events on May 1st. In the current hour at the beginning of the meeting, the MPs and probably also Interior Senator Iris Spranger (SPD) want to take stock of the numerous demonstrations surrounding the holiday. The police also announced a detailed assessment.

Yesterday evening thousands of people marched through Kreuzberg and Neukölln at the traditional “Revolutionary May 1st Demonstration”. Previously feared incidents or outbreaks of violence as in previous years did not occur. According to police estimates, almost 12,000 people took part in the demonstration. The organizers – left-wing and left-wing autonomous groups – spoke of 25,000 to 30,000 demonstrators. Their train led from Südstern via Hasenheide and Hermannplatz to Neuköllner Sonnenallee – and from there back again. The demonstration was accompanied by a large contingent of thousands of police officers.

At the so-called Revolutionary May 1st demonstration, no large black bloc could be seen this time, said Police Chief Slowik. Against the background of the conflict situation in the Middle East, there were many pro-Palestinian demonstrators on the streets. “The dominant theme was the Palestine issue,” she said. The police intervened quickly in three cases in which anti-Semitic hatred was expressed. There were a few temporary arrests, according to a police post on the online platform X. One police officer was slightly injured.

Palestine flags and chants

The police paid particular attention to what was happening in the Arab-dominated Sonnenallee. There were joyous rallies in the area after the terrorist attack by the Islamist Hamas on Israel on October 7, 2023. This is also where most of the protests by Palestinian groups over Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip have taken place in recent months. According to the police, there were no notable incidents there either.

On some building roofs along the demonstration route, people set off Bengali fireworks and smoke pots. Bengal fires were also burning in some places on the train itself. At the front of the demonstration were several people who had covered themselves with black or red scarves. Participants sometimes shouted aggressive anti-police chants.

Stone deposits discovered before the demo

After tips from residents, the police discovered and seized deposits of stones and roof tiles on house roofs and on the ground along the planned demonstration route before the procession began in the afternoon. The police suspect that it was possibly meant to be thrown at officers – but this was not certain.

According to Interior Senator Spranger, the Berlin police deployed around 6,200 officers, including 2,400 from other federal states and the federal police, to secure all demonstrations on May 1st and places with many people such as train stations.

Source: Stern

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