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Germany: 3,000 pro-Palestinian protesters gather in Essen

Jenipher Camino Gonzalez
November 3, 2023

An estimated 3,000 people marched in the western German city of Essen to protest Israel's ongoing offensive in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protesters hold signs as the demonstrate in Essen, Germany
Thousands gathered in Essen to protest against the Israel's military operation in GazaImage: Christoph Reichwein/dpa/picture alliance

Some 3,000 people in the western German city of Essen on Friday took part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration protesting against the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

The pro-Palestinian demonstration had been planned in advance and was escorted by heavy police presence.

It comes as tensions in Germany have been high, with several cities and municipalities banning anti-Israel protests and pro-Palestinian protests.

What happened during the protest?

Friday's rally in Essen was the largest of its kind in the industrial city since the war between Israel and Hamas, the militant-Islamist group that controls Gaza, began.

"Gaza under attack – together against injustice" was the theme of the demonstration.

Female protesters gesture during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Essen, Germany
Local media reported that protest was separated by gender, with women marching together behind menImage: Christoph Reichwein/dpa/picture alliance

Local newspaper Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) reported that the demonstration was separated by gender, with men marching at the front and the women in the back.

Demonstrators held signs denouncing Israel's bombardment of Gaza, the child casualties and Germany's support for Israel.

Police sources said the protest was peaceful and reported no incidents.

Police stand in the streets during a demonstration in Essen against Israel's offensive in Gaza
Heavy police presence escorted the demonstration through the western German cityImage: Christoph Reichwein/dpa/picture alliance

Germany on edge

The demonstration also comes a day after Germany's Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck warned the country about the rise in antisemitism and its relationship to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Habeck appealed to Muslim associations to "clearly distance themselves from antisemitism so as not to undermine their own right to tolerance."

This report was written in part with material from news agency DPA.

Edited by: Rebecca Staudenmaier