Several hundred Kurds and supporters demonstrated against Turkish politics in Berlin on Saturday. According to the police, the approximately 700 demonstrators ran from Potsdamer Platz to the Brandenburg Gate. They protested against “attacks by the Turkish state in Kurdistan”. The police reported several preliminary arrests.

The demonstration was stopped several times because participants shouted forbidden slogans related to the Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK, said a police spokeswoman. Flagpoles and cardboard signs were aimed in the direction of emergency services. The police responded with deprivation of liberty. The allegations were breach of the peace and physical attacks. The spokeswoman could not yet say how many people were temporarily arrested.

Yellow-red-green flags could be seen in pictures of the demonstration, as well as banners criticizing the Turkish approach. A few weeks ago, Turkey launched new attacks against the PKK in northern Iraq.

Other than the Kurdish demonstration, which was allowed with conditions, the police had banned several Palestinian demonstrations against Israel’s policies this weekend. The administrative court and the higher administrative court had confirmed the ban.

There were many police officers at the originally planned meeting places in Neukölln and Kreuzberg on Saturday afternoon, as dpa reporters observed. They informed about the ban on demonstrations and sent away potential participants. Police deployed up to 1,100 officers to enforce the ban and monitor legal gatherings.

Every year on May 15, Palestinians commemorate the flight and expulsion of hundreds of thousands during the first Middle East war in 1948. On May 14, 1948, part of the British Mandate of Palestine became Israel. The Arab neighbors attacked the new state. Around 700,000 Palestinians fled or were displaced in the course of the fighting.

The police justified the ban on the Palestine demonstrations by saying that there could be inflammatory, anti-Semitic calls, glorification of violence and acts of violence. The administrative court and the higher administrative court shared this risk forecast with a view to previous similar events.

The group Palestine Speaks has criticized the ban on its demonstrations as an “attack on our fundamental rights to freedom of association and freedom of expression”. It is an “alarming door opener for unlimited state repression against any opposition in Germany, be it for Palestinian human rights, anti-racism or refugee rights”. (dpa)