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German police raid pro-Palestinian group in Duisburg

May 16, 2024

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has banned the group Palestine Solidarity Duisburg over alleged antisemitism and support for Hamas.

Three police officers stand in front of a police van in Duisburg, where they raided locations linked to the Palestine Solidarity Duisburg group
Security forces searched four properties in DuisburgImage: David Young/dpa/picture alliance

German police in the western city of Duisburg carried out raids on Wednesday on four properties linked to a pro-Palestinian group over its alleged support for Hamas.

The interior ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany's most populated state where the city is located, said it had banned the group Palestine Solidarity Duisburg.

Minister accuses group of antisemitism

"This ban comes at the right time and sends the right signal," NRW Interior Minister Herbert Reul said in a statement.

"In many cases, solidarity with Palestine hides nothing other than hatred of Jews — as is the case with the organization banned today," he added.

"We are using all legal options to dry up antisemitism and ideological support for terror. The state has shown a clear stance against extremism today."

Germany has repeatedly stated its support for Israel, calling it a "reason of state" for the country while declaring efforts to tackle antisemitism.

Why was the group banned?

The state's Interior Ministry cited the group's use of slogans such as "From the river to the sea," which is banned in Germany. 

The ministry said the group "continuously incites hatred against the state of Israel and holds it solely responsible for the Middle East conflict."

The group organizes protests and events against what it describes as Israeli "apartheid" and "genocide" against Palestinians, both of which Israel has denied.  

The group's website platforms other pro-Palestinian groups, including Jewish organizations. The group has repeatedly reported on social media about police "censoring" its protests.

The ministry said Palestine Solidarity Duisburg was also linked to "like-minded" groups such as the banned Samidoun organization.

Germany targets groups for alleged terror link

Authorities in Germany have previously raided and banned pro-Palestinian groups, accusing many of their members of supporting terrorist organizations. 

In December, police in Berlin conducted raids targeting members of Zora, a pro-Palestinian, left-wing feminist group.

German security also banned the Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in November.

Germany, the United States, the European Union, Israel and several Arab countries classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. 

According to estimates by Germany's domestic intelligence agency BfV, some 450 people in Germany have been involved in Hamas. There is no official branch of the group in Germany.

fb/ab (dpa, EPD)

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