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Thousands form candlelit chain against xenophobia through Berlin

A line of people holding candles and lamps wound through the streets of Berlin in a demonstration against xenophobia. The event came the same day as a race-hate attack in Cologne.

Thousands of people turned out on Saturday night in Berlin to form a candlelit line in the streets of the German capital. They gathered in a show of solidarity against xenophobia.

Police said about 8,000 people were present, while Father Peter Kranz of the Ecumenical Center in Berlin spoke of more than 20,000: "Berlin, Germany and the world should see that we continue to stand with refugees," he said.

Berlin rally for refugees

People hold candles and lamps in Berlin in solidarity with refugees

The participants gathered on the main west-east axis of Berlin under the banner "Refugees warmly welcomed - overcome the cause of flight."

The event was organized by a number of different organizations including political parties and unions.

A similar rally was also held in Cologne on Saturday night. It followed the

morning knife attack on Henriette Reker,

a candidate for mayor in the city. Reker was responsible for organizing accomodation for asylum seekers. Police said the attacker's motives were "xenophobic."

Attending the Cologne rally, Hannelore Kraft, state premier of North Rhine Westphalia, said "we stand here together as democrats, to send a sign against this despicable act."

jm/bk (dpa, AFP)

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