Men in Black: Lawyers protest mass surveillance in Berlin (VIDEO)
Berlin saw a crowd of several hundred lawyers all dressed in black robes on Saturday evening. They were accusing the German government of telling lies to the public, while trying to keep covert relations with the US National Security Agency secret.
Another problem, appearing on the agenda of the protest, was the planned reintroduction of data retention and the spying by the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency.
The new legislation, which is officially aimed at combating terrorism, was presented by the German government on Wednesday. It suggests storing IP addresses of computers for up to two and a half months, as well as location data of mobile phone conversations for up to four weeks.
Burkhard Hirsch, former vice-president of the German Bundestag was present at the protest, according to Ruptly video agency. He recalled slogans that now have become common in German society – “Germany is no surveillance state”, “On German soil German law applies”, “The American government has offered the implementation of a 'no spy' agreement” and “we have informed to the best of our knowledge and belief”.
Hirsch said, “without the bravery of Edward Snowden all these sentences would have not been exposed for what they are – a blatant lie, which does not exist for our protection but solely for the retention of power,” according to the Ruptly video.
The protest was organised by a non-partisan initiative, ‘Lawyers against mass surveillance’, founded in the German city of Hamburg.
New monument dedicated in Berlin to Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange and the public. pic.twitter.com/7eJlfJ0nyZ
— FreeSpeechDebate (@onfreespeech) May 13, 2015
An address written by US whistleblower Edward Snowden was followed by the speeches by Hans-Christian Stroebele, a member of the Green Party, and Peter Schaar, an Office of the Federal Commissioner incumbent.
Information revealed by Snowden about two years ago, suggested that the NSA tapped mobile phones of various world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Later, this year, as the extent of the dependence of the BND on US surveillance was revealed, the public voiced their concerns and one third of society expressed feeling deceived by the covert policy of Chancellor Angela Merkel.