Monday Sep 18, 2017
BERLIN: Over 10,000 people marched through the German capital on Saturday to protest racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and sexism in a demonstration that comes a week ahead of the Bundestag elections.
The peaceful "Welcome United - CommUnity Carnival" parade — an open initiative from social, antiracist, and political networks — included flags of Azad Kashmir flying high for the first time during a mainstream procession in Berlin.
The multicultural parade — organised by Welcome United in collaboration with several German human rights organisations — highlighted the voice of oppressed citizens of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) through a unique approach, with a 'Kashmir Peace Truck' carrying banners that portrayed victims of pellet gun violence.
Speaking to Geo.tv as the event carried on, Sami Ullah — one of the CommUnity Carnival's coordinators said, "It is great to see that the Kashmir Peace Truck has joined us here."
Just a week before German federal elections, such a huge demonstration is set to push the new government to rethink its policies in terms of social reforms, Sami Ullah explained.
In total, 20 trucks were part of the carnival, of which one — arranged by the Free Kashmir Organization (FKO) Berlin — represented Kashmir and its people.
FKO Berlin chairman Sidiq Kiyani — another one of the organisers — stated, "Our focus is to reclaim the right of self-determination of Kashmiris. We keep working to raising awareness of the Kashmiri people's rights and how they are suppressed in the IoK."
A picturesque parade comprising thousands of protestors and more than a dozen trucks traversed for six hours in Berlin's central areas, with the Kashmiri song "I love freedom and I will get freedom" played throughout the festivities.
Kashmir Council-EU Chairman Ali Raza Syed — who had travelled from Brussels for the occasion to show support for the cause — commented, "Our objective is to highlight the Kashmir issue and obtain support in favour of the oppressed people of IoK."
A distinctive and inclusive approach together with a "Kashmir Peace Truck, which is decorated with our flags and banners that sport human rights slogans will help us raise the voice of Kashmiris in Europe", activist Riffat Wani — who hails from Kashmir — noted.
The number of participants this year doubled against last year to reach 10,000 and it was the first time that the cause of Kashmir was presented in such a manner.
Malte — the organiser of Pax Terra Music Festival (Music Festival for the Peace) — explained that "we have to work together to make peace in the world and we have to refine our humanity for everyone".
Certainly, such multifaceted participation will encourage German and — in wider terms, European citizens — to spare a moment to think about the atrocities being committed in IoK, support refugees, and bring their stories to the streets to influence public debate and change the current migration policies.