After anti-Semitic protest: suspect caught in Gelsenkirchen

After anti-Semitic protest
Suspect caught in Gelsenkirchen

“I find it unbearable when anti-Semitic slogans are chanted on German soil,” said North Rhine-Westphalia’s Interior Minister Reul. He is reacting to anti-Semitic incidents in his state. A suspect has now been caught.

After anti-Semitic incidents in Gelsenkirchen, the police identified a suspect. It is a 26-year-old German-Lebanese from Gelsenkirchen, as the police announced. The state security set up an investigative commission to quickly clear up further details. The police stopped an anti-Semitic demonstration near a synagogue on Wednesday evening.

North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul had announced that the perpetrators would be persecuted after the incidents. “I find it unbearable when anti-Semitic slogans are chanted on German soil,” said the CDU politician. “Our police persecute the perpetrators with all the consequences so that they can be punished.”

He was glad that the first police officers were there so quickly at the unannounced spontaneous meeting in Gelsenkirchen to protect the synagogue. “Jewish life naturally belongs to Germany and must be possible here without fear of threats and violence,” said Reul. That is why the police security guard is currently guarding particularly endangered Jewish institutions in North Rhine-Westphalia around the clock.

The approximately 180 demonstrators who were moving from the Gelsenkirchen station forecourt in the direction of the synagogue, which is only a few hundred meters away, were stopped by numerous officials, according to a statement from the police. In a video broadcast by the Central Council of Jews on Twitter, chants with anti-Semitic content can be heard. You can see people with the Palestinian, Turkish and Tunisian flags, among others.

Police operations are checked internally

The police confirmed the authenticity of the video. It was probably recorded from the synagogue, said a spokesman. The video shows that officials did not intervene despite the slogans. The main goal was to protect the synagogue, said the police spokesman. Initially, there were not enough officials on site to pull suspects from the crowd at the same time. When more officials arrived, the demonstration had already disbanded.

The police reportedly also used batons on Wednesday evening, but no one was injured. Criminal charges were made, among other things, for sedition, breach of the peace and resistance to law enforcement officers. According to the spokesman, the use is also checked internally. In an initial report, the police initially reported an “anti-Israel demonstration”.

In addition to Gelsenkirchen, the police also stopped an anti-Semitic demonstration in Hanover on Wednesday evening and prevented the Israeli flag from being burned. The protests were directed against the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East. An Israeli flag hoisted in front of the Solingen town hall was meanwhile lit by strangers during the night, the city announced. Lord Mayor Tim Kurzbach spoke of a “shameful act”. “Anyone who thinks that they can shake our solidarity by burning a flag is mistaken. We are resolutely opposed to the hatred of Jewish people, which is increasingly evident at the moment.”

On Thursday, anti-Israeli protests remained peaceful in Bremen and Hamm, among others, as the local police stations announced in the evening. In Bremen, up to 1500 people took part in a rally registered by the Palestinian community, in Hamm there were up to 300 people.

“We will not tolerate hatred of Jews in our country”

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians had come to a head again in the past few days. According to the Israeli army, militant Palestinians have fired hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip towards Israel since Monday. Israel’s air force, for its part, attacked hundreds of targets in the isolated coastal area. Numerous people have died since the escalation of violence.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier condemned anti-Semitic riots and flag burning in front of synagogues. “Our Basic Law guarantees the right to freedom of expression and freedom of demonstration,” wrote Steinmeier in a guest article for the “Bild” newspaper. “But anyone who burns flags with the Star of David on our streets and shouts anti-Semitic slogans is not only abusing the freedom to demonstrate, but is committing crimes that must be prosecuted!”

Steinmeier emphasized that nothing justified the threat to Jews in Germany or attacks on synagogues in German cities. “Hatred of Jews – no matter by whom – we will not and will not tolerate in our country.”