“Very sensitive risk situation”
3,400 police must secure WWII commemorations in Berlin
May 6, 2022, 5:09 p.m.
More than 50 events are planned in the capital around the anniversary of the end of the world war. Tensions are expected over the Russian war against Ukraine. A balancing act for the police – thousands of officials should protect a dignified commemoration – and prevent instrumentalisation.
The Berlin police want to accompany the planned demonstrations and commemorative events to mark the 77th anniversary of the end of the Second World War with a large contingent. According to a spokesperson, around 3,400 police are expected to be on the road in the urban area on Sunday and Monday. In view of the Russian aggression war in Ukraine, a “highly sensitive risk situation” is expected. It is important to protect dignified commemoration at places of remembrance and memorials – and at the same time prevent an “instrumentalization of commemoration”, said Chief of Police Barbara Slowik.
The Senate named the total of more than 50 protests and commemorative events on the two days in the capital. Slowik stressed that the police would take action against “any form of support, endorsement, glorification or even glorification of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
The assembly authority has issued many conditions for 15 memorials and memorial sites. This includes, for example, that neither the Russian nor Ukrainian flags may be displayed on or near the respective site. Uniforms or parts of uniforms – even in modified forms – as well as marching or military chants are also prohibited. The Z symbol is also prohibited. The letter is used by supporters of war and means “za pobedu” (“For victory”). According to police, however, World War II veterans, diplomats and state officials and delegations are exempt from the regulations.
Berlin’s administrative court recently said restrictions on pro-Russian protests were permitted. Earlier in April, a pro-Russian motorcade in Berlin caused outrage: around 400 vehicles drove through the city with Russian flags. On the same day, the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha was revealed.