On Monday, 15 May, anonymous Palestinian, Arab and internationalist youth in Berlin, Germany, marched through Sonnenallee, one of the central streets of Berlin’s Arab community, in a spontaneous demonstration commemorating 75 years of ongoing Nakba and 75 years of Palestinian resistance and defying German state repression.
This action came after the Berlin police once again banned commemorations of the Nakba, the forcible displacement and ethnic cleansing of over 800,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands by Zionist militias in 1947-48 and the destruction or depopulation of 600 Palestinian villages. Since 1948, Palestinian refugees have been denied their right to return home by the Israeli Zionist regime created on the land of occupied Palestine.
Berlin police banned the 14 May mass demonstration called by the Revolutionary Solidarity Coalition to commemorate the Nakba and stand with 75 years of Palestinian resistance. This came one day after they also banned a performance demonstration scheduled on 13 May, in which participants planned to hold up watermelons, symbolizing Palestinian identity. Also on 13 May, police purportedly allowed a Palestinian cultural festival to take place. However, they banned participants from giving political speeches, banned dabkeh performances, and forced the removal of banners featuring Palestinian political prisoners, including Ahmad Sa’adat and Georges Abdallah, slogans like “Free Palestine,” books about Palestine and materials about the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign.
This spontaneous action came in strong rejection of and resistance to the ongoing policy of repression targeting Palestinian and Arab communities in Berlin, home to the largest Palestinian population from Europe, many of whom are Palestinian refugees from Lebanon and Syria denied their rights to return home. This pattern of repression has included the banning of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day demonstrations; the banning of Al-Quds Day demonstrations; the banning of 2022 Nakba commemorations; political bans imposed on Rasmea Odeh and Khaled Barakat; and many other incidents, including the use of the administrative legal and immigration system to target activists for Palestine, including withdrawal of residency, threats to refugee status and bans from Germany and Europe for participating in public political activity for Palestine.
In the same week leading up to the Nakba commemoration, at least six uniformed Berlin police were sent to Sonnenallee to strip a large mural honoring the martyr Sheikh Khader Adnan, the Palestinian prisoner and long term hunger striker whose life was taken in occupation prisons after 86 days of hunger strike, from the windows of an unoccupied building.
Of course, these attacks target not only Palestinian organizing in exile and diaspora and anti-imperialist Palestine solidarity organizing but also the Palestinian liberation movement itself. By repressing solidarity with Palestine, including the targeting of Samidoun, the Berlin police and the German state are attempting to target the Palestinian prisoners and the Palestinian liberation movement. They are also attempting to silence the growing challenge to the German state’s ongoing military, political, economic and diplomatic collaboration with Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as its full partnership with U.S. imperialism and NATO.
Later, the Berlin police also banned the major Nakba 75 demonstration planned for 20 May, once again citing extremely racist justifications and openly stating their fear of many Arabs participating in the demonstration. When Jewish progressives organized a Nakba memorial earlier on 20 May, the police did not ban it in advance; however, once the demonstration began, with speakers and large banners reading, “Free Palestine, “Ongoing Nakba, Ongoing Resistance,” and “End Apartheid,” police attacked the demonstration, ordered it dissolved and arrested Jewish and Palestinian organizers.
This action on 15 May on Sonnenallee demonstrates a clear message: that repression will never suppress the Palestinian voice or the Palestinian cause, on the Palestinian, Arab and international level, and can only spark greater unity against imperialism and Zionism. Such repression is being met with greater unity among all who are facing the boot of the German state, and ongoing resistance, in the spirit of the Palestinian resistance that has continued and is continuing despite 75 years of Nakba and colonialism.
More than 160 organizations, unions, and political parties around the world joined the call issued by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, as part of the “Revolutionary Solidarity Coalition”, against the extreme anti-Palestinian repression taking place in Germany.
Accompanying this international campaign, we formed a team of lawyers that will be undertaking the legal battle against the demonstration bans and the court cases for those who are targeted by the state for their struggle for a liberated Palestine. Support us and donate to:
Name: Rote Hilfe e.V.
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Note: Palaestina gegen Repression