14,000 Germans protest against xenophobia in Hamburg (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Thousands of Germans have taken to the streets of Hamburg in a major demonstration supporting tolerance and democracy, while a protest by a far-right movement for a "day of German patriots" was banned.
A peaceful rally in the German port city of Hamburg has gathered at least 14,000 people on Saturday, according to police estimates, dpa news agency reported.
In the morning at the Central railway station, police reported a 7,500-strong rally of supporters of the leftist "Hamburger Alliance against the Right."
People who gathered on the square in front of the Town Hall were carrying bright pink balloons, as a sign of their participation in the rally "Hamburg shows its true colors." They were holding banners that read “Refugees welcome” and “Real patriots against German policy,” according to the Schleswig-Holstein news portal.
“I think it is important to make a statement and to show the world what Germany is about, and that is not the right-wing section and it is not the Nazi movement,” one of the protesters told RT’s Peter Oliver.
Another demonstration remained under a ban on Saturday, the day when German right-wing extremists, Neo-Nazis and Hooligans against Salafists groups had scheduled to mark the "Day of German patriots." The planned 3,000-strong rally was banned by the Federal Constitutional Court on Friday evening.
As the ban led to an unexpected relocation of the Neo-Nazi demonstration to Bremen, police issued another order, prohibiting Hamburger participants to travel to the neighboring city.
About 100 people were arrested in the urban area later to be sent back to Hamburg, and a Hamburg-Bremen train with about 250 demonstrators was stopped by the police, local Weser Kurier newspaper reported Saturday. A group of 34 Neo-Nazis were taken to custody after clashes with officers, according to the police.
On Saturday, European capitals were flooded with people making a stand against the current refugee policies of their governments.
Over 30,000 Danes gathered in Copenhagen to voice their support for thousands of refugees, who have chosen their country as a shelter from war, according to the police. They were shouting “Refugees are welcome,” and their banners read "Europe is the closest neighbourhood to Syria,” The Local reported.
Tens of thousands of Britons marched in central London, united by the “Solidarity with refugees” rally, the Guardian reported.
Prague, in its turn, confronted the EU policy of granting asylum to the rising tide of refugees, TASS news agency reported. Some 400 Czechs protested in the capital city, chanting “Stop the Islamization of Europe” and “This country is our home,” and over 300 people took part in a motor race in the center of the city.
On Friday, the International Office for Migration (IOM) released the most recent figures that could characterize the refugee crisis as the biggest seen since WWII. It estimated the number of refugees who have traveled to Europe at 433,000 people, saying that many arrive in Italy and Greece by sea and later head for northern EU member states, such as Germany.
In the next few days, another 40,000 refugees are expected to cross the southern German border, thus doubling the record number reached last weekend.