Pro-Palestinian protesters shout down top German diplomat at forum

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators angry at the German government’s handling of Israel’s war in Gaza disrupted a citizens’ forum featuring Germany’s foreign minister on Sunday.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock was participating in a discussion titled “Stormy times – how foreign policy ensures the security of our democracy” as part of weekend of events to celebrate the adoption of Germany’s constitution, known as the Basic Law, 75 years ago.

Several demonstrators in the theatre began shouting at Baerbock, accusing the German government of one-sidedness in the war and demanding that Berlin halt arms deliveries to Israel. Some held banners reading “Stop the genocide.”

Baerbock responded calmly at first, saying Germany was working to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians could live in peace.

But she clearly grew frustrated as the tumult in the theatre increased. “There are no threats here!” she shouted at one participant.

One protester who identified herself as an “anti-Zionist Jew” said that, when it came to the war, freedom of expression was being restricted in Germany. With Germany’s help, she said, Gaza was being reduced to “rubble and ashes.”

At least eight participants were forced out of the venue by dpa’s count. In some cases, there were scuffles and physical altercations with security staff.

Baerbock asked security not to use any violence against the demonstrators. Meanwhile, large sections of the rest of the audience reacted to the protest with loud booing.

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