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Berlin in hot water for not lighting Brandenburg Gate in tribute to St. Petersburg attack victims

Berlin in hot water for not lighting Brandenburg Gate in tribute to St. Petersburg attack victims
Berlin authorities have faced an avalanche of criticism over their decision not to project the Russian national colors on the Brandenburg Gate. Ordinary citizens, politicians and even the city police expressed their disapproval.

READ MORE: Eiffel Tower to dim its lights for St. Petersburg attack victims after public outcry

On Monday, a Berlin government spokesperson said that the Brandenburg Gate would not radiate the Russian national colors because St. Petersburg is not a partner city of Berlin, and “exceptions should only be made in exceptional cases.”

The news was delivered by the Berliner Zeitung daily and lots of angry readers wrote to the newspaper to say they were “really ashamed.”

“This is just impudence that the Brandenburg Gate was not decorated with Russia’s national colors,” one of the letters reads.

Many turned to social media to express their anger and frustration. People were posting pictures of the Gate being lit in solidarity with other countries where terrorist acts happened.

“I find it heinous that the Brandenburg Gate was not decorated [with Russia’s national colors]. Are the Russians some second-class people?” a post on Twitter read.

Some people, and even some German newspapers, did try their best to rectify the snub, posting Russian flags and even doctoring the image of the Brandenburg Gate as if it was lit in colors of the Russian flag.

Klaus Lederer, the commissioner for culture in the Berlin government, has also criticized the authorities’ decision on his Facebook page by saying that “the Russian flag [colors] should have also been actually projected on the Brandenburg Gate.”

Berlin police issued a Twitter post featuring the Brandenburg Gate decorated with the Russian national flag colors, in which they offered their condolences to the victims of the St. Petersburg attack and their loved ones.

The police later also criticized the Berlin authorities’ decision in a second Twitter post by saying that “terror victims have a right for sympathy and compassion irrespective of the place of the attack.”

“Berlin must put an end to this stupid double speak concerning ‘partner cities,’” the police Twitter post adds.

The Brandenburg Gate has a history of showing solidarity with nations after similar attacks, including those in Orlando, Nice and Jerusalem, even though none of these cities is a “partner city” of Berlin, according to the German media.

Meanwhile, Dresden lit its cultural center with the Russian national colors on Tuesday evening as a symbol of mourning and solidarity with the victims of the St. Petersburg Metro attack.

Dirk Hilbert, Dresden’s mayor, sent a letter to St. Petersburg Governor Sergey Poltavchenko, in which he “strictly condemned” the terror attack and “extended sincere condolences on behalf of all Dresden residents” to the victims of the attack and their loved ones.