German People Demonstrate in Berlin to Support Migrants

German People Demonstrate in Berlin to Support Migrants
Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:53:46

Nearly 1,000 people have taken to the streets in the German capital of Berlin to show their support for refugees and protest against racism and Islamophobia.

The demonstrators participated in the rally on “Berlin's Global Action Day against Racism” on Sunday.

They marched through Berlin's districts, holding signs that condemned racism and Islamophobia. They also carried banners reading "Against all racism, against Islamophobia,” and held signs that read, "No one puts their children on a boat unless the water is safer than the land."

The event’s organizers said the demonstration aimed to raise awareness among people about challenges facing refugees who are living in the city shelters.

Germany opened its borders to the refugees last summer with a welcoming mood, but it gradually shifted away from the policy and now Chancellor Angela Merkel stresses that the number of refugees arriving in the country needs to be reduced.

"The federal government has completely changed its refugee policy, even if it does not admit that," said Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party to Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

The European Union and Turkey reached a deal last week, under which refugees arriving in Greece would be sent back to Turkey if they do not apply for asylum or if their claim is rejected.

The practical implementation of the deal, however, remains to be seen, according to Greece refugee spokesman Giorgos Kyritsis.

Kyritsis has said the government will not be able to start sending back refugees before April 4, the time by which Athens must have in place a fast-track process for assessing asylum claims.

According to a recent report by the European Commission’s bureau of statistics, the Eurostat, some 1,255,600 refugees reached Europe in 2015, with more than a third of them having gone to Germany.

Most of the refugees are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria. Many blame the Western policies in the conflict zones for the unprecedented exodus of the refugees from their home countries.

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