A memorial has taken place for student Tugce Albayrak, who was killed in a brutal assault after she protected two girls being harassed. Thousands of people turned out to remember and honor her.
The funeral for Tugce Albayrak took place in the small German town of Wächtersbach on Wednesday, five days after her life support was switched off on what was her 23rd birthday.
"We are all very sad," said Hakan Akbulut, chairman of Germany's Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs, an organization of mosques under the control of the Turkish government. "It is a very emotional situation for all of us."
Hesse state Premier Volker Bouffier, the Turkish ambassador to Germany, and other state and national politicians joined thousands of mourners at a memorial ceremony.
On November 15, the Turkish-German student was knocked to the ground in a parking lot outside a McDonald's restaurant in Offenbach, near Frankfurt. She had earlier come to the aid of two girls who were being harassed inside the restaurant's restroom.
An 18-year-old man of Serbian Muslim origin is in custody, but has not been charged. Albayrak's death caused a wave of outrage and mourning across Germany, amid concerns over a possible decline in public safety. There has been widespread sympathy and support for her actions throughout the country.
Police have refused to disclose details of Albayrak's injury. Whether she suffered head injuries from a blow or from falling to the pavement remains unclear.
An Internet petition signed by more than 170,000 people has called on the German government to honor her with the Federal Order of Merit.
jr/sms (dpa, epd)