After the dissolution of a controversial “Palestine Congress” planned for three days in Berlin, the police are expecting spontaneous protest events this weekend. Emergency services will remain at the event location in Tempelhof, a police spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman said that numerous police officers were also out and about in the city area and were monitoring the situation. Originally, around 900 officials were supposed to accompany the second day of the congress on Saturday. “The level of force we deploy on Saturday depends on the situation,” she explained. It was initially unclear whether the organizers would take legal action against the dissolution.

The police broke up the event on Friday around two hours after it began. The up to 250 congress participants were asked to leave the hall early in the evening. The reason given by the assembly authority was a speech broadcast via video by a man who is banned from political activity in Germany because of hate speech against Israel and Jews. When the man spoke, the police and several officers intervened, cut the transmission and temporarily switched off the power.

According to a police spokeswoman, the authority saw the danger “that such anti-Semitic, violence-glorifying and Holocaust-denying speeches could be repeated at the event.” The decision therefore applies not only to Friday, but also to Saturday and Sunday.

Reactions of the participants of the meeting

The participants in the meeting reacted to the official termination by the police with loud expressions of displeasure. Among other things, they chanted “shame on you” in English. Finally, they gradually left the hall, some accompanied by police officers. A spokesman for the police situation center said late in the evening that there had been no further protests and that the situation was calm.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser praised the police’s use of the platform X, formerly Twitter. “It is right and necessary for the Berlin police to crack down on the so-called Palestine Congress. We do not tolerate Islamist propaganda or hatred against Jews,” she wrote. The police union also called the officers’ crackdown “a strong signal towards those who exploit our democracy or doubt the assertiveness of the capital’s police.” “Anyone who wants to use our democratic opportunities must also adhere to requirements and laws,” said state leader Stephan Weh, according to the announcement.

Call for initiatives and police deployment

Various pro-Palestinian groups and initiatives invited people to the international meeting under the motto “We accuse”. These include, above all, those which, according to the assessment of security authorities and Berlin’s internal administration, belong to the anti-Israel “boycott spectrum”. The organizers had announced the congress a long time ago, but kept the exact location secret for a long time and only announced it on Friday.

The police were on site with a massive contingent and sometimes followed the event, which was considered a public meeting, directly in the hall. Before the meeting began, politicians and the police had announced that they would take consistent action if anti-Semitic statements or crimes occurred. There had already been protests against the event in advance, including from the Central Council of Jews. On Friday itself there were some protests in the city against the Congress.