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German government trying to stop Palestine Congress, says organiser

April 12, 2024 at 4:39 pm

Police take measures as people attend the Palestinian Congress which is held to demand immediate ceasefire for Gaza, in Berlin, Germany, on April 12, 2024 [Halil Sağırkaya/Anadolu Agenc]

The German government is actively and illicitly trying to stop or delay a Palestine Congress in Berlin from happening, an organiser of the event said Friday, Anadolu Agency reports.

There is “pressure from the federal government” to cancel the Palestine Congress, Nadija Samour told Anadolu.

She also accused Berlin of intentionally delaying the start of the Congress, citing technical reasons as a pretext.

“The Congress could not be banned. Freedom of assembly protects the Congress, which is precisely why the police came up with all sorts of harassment. Be it fire protection or the landlord’s business license,” she said.

The German-Palestinian activist said that at least one of the main speakers, Ghassan Abu Sittah, was held up by federal police at Berlin airport and prevented from entering Germany.

“There is absolutely no legal basis for this, no justification at all. Sittah is the Dean of the University of Glasgow. I can’t imagine that he’s a dangerous person or a person who incites violence. Quite the opposite,” Samour said.

At least one person was arrested by police ahead of the start of the Congress, according to eyewitnesses.

The three-day conference will take a critical look at Germany’s military support role for Israel’s war in Gaza, according to organisers.

Demands for an immediate ceasefire as well as immediate withdrawal of the Israeli army are also expected.

Organisers have also called for an “immediate cessation of all military, diplomatic and economic support for Israel by the German state, as well as a comprehensive military embargo” on Tel Aviv.

There had been intense pressure from pro-Israeli politicians in recent days to ban the event, as hundreds of police surrounded the congress venue in Berlin’s Tempelhof district.

READ: Germany bars Palestinian doctor from entry