Berliners form socially-distanced human chain against racism

BERLIN (AFP) – Thousands demonstrated in Berlin against racism and for broader fairness, including sharing the coronavirus burden, as they stretched a human chain through the German capital yesterday while keeping safe distances.

Although the German Weather Service (DWD) issued a storm warning for a swathe of the country, people also turned out in other cities like Leipzig and Hamburg after a nationwide appeal from progressive movement Unteilbar (Indivisible).

“Now we will decide whether we manage to put ourselves on the path to an anti-racist society of social and climate justice,” tweeted Greens party Member of Parliament (MP) for Berlin’s lively central Kreuzberg district Canan Bayram,.

The capital’s human chain was slated to stretch from the world-famous Brandenburg Gate past the landmark Communist-era TV tower at Alexanderplatz and down into the ethnically diverse Neukoelln district.

Organisers had registered 5,000 people to show up, while police said they were prepared for up to 20,000.

Demonstrators attend the ‘This is solidarity’ demonstration of the movement Unteilbar (Indivisible), in Berlin. PHOTO: AP

A map posted online showed how different groups had been allocated responsibility for different sections of the Berlin human chain.

They ranged from political parties like the Greens and Left party to civil society groups like “Grannies against the far right” and the Fridays for Future youth climate movement.

On their website, Unteilbar organisers urged sticking to “a responsible form of protest in times of pandemic and crisis”, telling participants to remain three metres (yards) apart to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission.

As the human chain got under way, stewards handed out strips of brightly coloured tape cut to the right length as a guide.