Thousands protested in the streets calling for justice in Berlin. Organisers expected 1,500 people to show up, Instead, an estimated 15,000 protested in Alexanderplatz, Berlin’s city centre, with signs that read “Germany is not innocent” and “Black Lives Matter,” German media outlet DW reported. Demonstrators held a moment of silence that lasted eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck. The protests extended beyond Berlin with rallies being organised in nine other cities across Germany. Munich saw a crowd of at least 20,000 people ad 14,000 people gathered in Hamburg for a similar cause.
Racism and police brutality is rampant in Germany in that it is found in institutional racism which is entrenched with police institutions. This is evident in racial profiling by police another authorities and the general lack of an independent complaint mechanism at the federal and state level that fosters impunity. Institutional racism becomes evident in the way the police treat refugees, people of the Muslim faith and people of colour.
The number of reported cases of racial discrimination significantly increased in Germany, rising by 59% between 2016 and 2019, according to an annual report presented on Tuesday by the German Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS). There have been several deaths of black people in Germany, including in police custody and as a result of attacks by rightwing Neo-Nazis that speak to systemic problems. The minority, those concerned about racism, have been talking for decades. The majority have not. But this is something that has changed in recent days and weeks, more white people willing to be a part of the cause have now joined arms. Chancellor Angela Merkel has supported demonstrators while reminding them to respect social distancing rules. “It is good if people take to the streets in Germany as well with a clear statement against racism,” Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said.