There were loud protests at the Democracy Festival in Berlin on Sunday at an event with Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens).

In protest against the federal government’s handling of the Gaza war, several participants disrupted a debate between Baerbock and citizens with loud shouts and banners.

They accused the federal government of corruption and one-sidedness and, among other things, called on Baerbock to immediately stop arms deliveries to Israel. Baerbock tried to answer the questions calmly – but she also became loud due to the commotion in the room. “There are no threats here,” she shouted to one participant. Germany is working to ensure that both Israel and the Palestinians can live in peace, she assured. She asked participants to stick to the facts.

At least eight participants had to leave the venue, the Tipi at the Chancellery, sometimes amidst violent protests, as a dpa reporter observed. In individual cases there were also scuffles and physical altercations with security personnel. Two women remained in the hall despite repeated calls to disturb them. Foreign Minister Baerbock tried several times to approach the two women and asked the security personnel not to use violence against the demonstrators. Large parts of the remaining audience reacted to the protest with loud boos.

One of the two women later identified herself as an “anti-Zionist Jew.” She explained that she did not dare to express her protest elsewhere; in Germany her freedom of expression on the Gaza war was being restricted. With Germany’s participation, Gaza will be reduced to rubble and ashes.

Baerbock stressed that Israel has a right to self-defense. She referred to Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer, who had stressed that there is no Christian, Jewish or Muslim blood, “only human blood.” This principle also guides the German government in the Gaza conflict, said Baerbock.