BERLIN – Tens of thousands took to the streets of Germany’s capital on Saturday to march against racism and in favor of an open society in an event backed by numerous political groups, parties and celebrities.
Organized by the “Unteilbar” (“Indivisible”) coalition under the slogan “For an open and free society: solidarity instead of exclusion,” the protest targeted the far-right, discrimination, the deaths of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea and austerity-fueled budget cuts.
In the march, protesters were holding up placards with phrases such as “Unicorns are against racism. Be a unicorn,” “Say no to the harassment of Muslims,” “Racism isn’t an alternative,” and “Together against the politics of fear.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) described the march as an “extraordinary message for so many people to take to the streets and show such a clear posture of society being indivisible.”
“We will not be divided, and much less by right-wing populists,” Maas added.
The minister said that most Germans were in favor of tolerance and that a revival of nationalism doesn’t solve a single problem, adding that social diversity in respect to origin, skin color, religion and lifestyle represented an enrichment, not a threat.
Other supporters of the march included organizations such as human rights non-profit Amnesty International, the Central Council of Muslims, local refugee support groups and prominent figures like the popular band Die Ärzte, singer Herbert Grönemeyer, actor Benno Fürmann and comedian Jan Böhmermann.
Apart from the SPD, other progressive political parties attended the march, such as representatives of the environmentalist Alliance 90/The Greens and the democratic socialist Die Linke (“The Left”).