Thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin on Sunday against racism and for more fairness, forming a human chain through the German capital while respecting measures of social distancing.
Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets in other German cities like Leipzig and Hamburg, despite torrential rains, at the call of the progressive movement Unteilbar (Indivisible).
A spokesman for the movement told AFP that more than 20,000 people had participated in the human chain in Berlin, while police estimated their number at around 8,000.
The human chain in the capital was to extend from the famous Brandenburg Gate to the multi-ethnic Nuekoelln district, passing through the iconic communist-era TV tower on Alexanderplatz, but it had to be lengthened due to massive participation.
Last weekend, more than 10,000 people gathered in Berlin, under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement, in reaction to the death on May 25 in Minneapolis, in the United States, of George Floyd, a black forties asphyxiated by a white police officer.
The slogan was prominently displayed on t-shirts and banners on Sunday, but event organizers said on their website that they had broader demands.
They demand, in particular, better working conditions, that everyone be paid, including migrants, affordable rents, the maintenance of the right of asylum and a revival of the environment-friendly economy.
“The coronavirus aggravates existing inequalities. Many people have threatened to be left behind. We will not allow it, “Unteilbar spokesman Georg Wissmeier said in a statement. “Human rights, social justice and climate justice are indivisible.”
“It is now decided who will bear the cost of the crisis, who will be stronger afterwards and who will be weaker,” said the Unteilbar movement on its website.
Several groups supported the various sections of the demonstration, from the Greens to civil society movements, including “Grandmothers against the far right” and the youth climate movement.
And the appearances of musicians and activists along the human chain were broadcast live.
The organizers had asked participants in this action to respect a distance of three meters between them, to minimize the risk of transmission of the new coronavirus.
“We must firmly resist racism, exclusion and discrimination. But over the weekend and in the coming weeks, we have to be careful and take care of each other “by reducing the spread of COVID-19, Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller told the newspaper Tagesspiegel before the event.
Compliance with the precautionary measures was “exemplary,” said a police spokesman for the AFP, noting that the demonstrators had kept their distance and wore a protective mask.