Posted 10:53 a.m. Oct. 13
By Brooke Reinders
U-WIRE Washington Bureau
BERLIN, Germany – Protests and celebrations that broke out shortly after the first American attacks against on Afghanistan showed no sign of ending in Germany’s capital, while the only moderate rhetoric continued to come from politicians.
About 200 right-wing extremists celebrated in the streets in the central part of the city Sunday night, lighting fires, and forcing police in riot gear to keep bystanders from joining in the melee.
The group consisted largely of neo-nazis claimed the American military action as a victory in their fight to repress and harm religious and ethic minorities. Afghanistan is a predominantly Muslim country.
Around the same time, several hundred protestors gathered in peaceful demonstrations in other parts of the central city to voice their anti-war message.
The demonstrations continued Monday, the largest of which was a 3,000 high school student walk-out across the city. Students marched across downtown Berlin and protested in front of the United States embassy. They held banners written mostly in English with the slogans like “make love, not war,” and “peace.”
“They basically were saying, America is supporting terrorism of its own,” a bystander who wished not to be identified told U-WIRE. “But they were peaceful. The police were only there to direct traffic.”
The two messages of support and condemnation ringing out in Berlin were summarized on a poster displayed Tuesday in one of the street trams that runs throughout the eastern part of the city. The advertisement for a peace rally scheduled for this weekend said protesters plan to gather to show their opposition to war, military action, hostility against foreigners, racism, and the use of the German army to aid the U.S. in Afghanistan.
Members of the German government maintained support for the U.S. since the Sept. 11 attacks. A few members of Parliament said they opposed military action, but German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?eder said in a press conference Sunday that Germany fully supports the military strikes.
As part of the European Union, Germany is one of many countries that has promised to help fight international terrorism. It was one country President George W. Bush actively courted to join in its retaliation against terrorism.