Police reportedly foiled a bomb plot at a pro-LGBTI demo in Berlin.
On Saturday (8 April), protestors assembled outside the Russian Embassy in the German capital.
Organized by pro-LGBTI initiative ENOUGH IS ENOUGH – OPEN YOUR MOUTH about 250 people were protesting Chechnya’s violence against the LGBTI community, especially gay and bi men, and the country’s newly-opened concentration camp for gay men.
Earlier that morning police arrested a 24-year-old Moroccan man in a refugee shelter in Borsdorf, a small town near Leipzig; both are about two hours south of Berlin.
According to the Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), he is suspected to have planned a grave crime which would have put state security at risk.
He allegedly wanted to commit a bomb attack against the Russian Embassy in Berlin.
A possible motif is Russia’s continuing support for Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, police said according to the newspaper.
They also suspect the accused wanted to use the demonstration as a cover, by hiding among the protestors.
In a statement, the organizers said Berlin Police were present throughout the day and repeatedly offered assurance that attendees would be safe.
Officers conducted bag searches and tightened rules on face coverings.
Under German law it is banned to cover your face in any way that would mask your identity when you attend a demonstration. Some pieces of clothing or accessories, like sunglasses, are excluded from that rule. Gay Star News has contacted Berlin Police for clarification.
‘If we, as society, buckle before terror and fearmongering, then we have already lost,’ the organizers said.
‘If we, out of fear over this information, would have cancelled the demonstration, then fear would have won.
‘We felt secure and protected by Berlin Police at all times and once more express our explicit thanks for the outstanding teamwork.’
Lorenz Haase, chief prosecutor at the state of Saxony’s Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, told Gay Star News they could not give much detail about the planned attack as it is an ongoing investigation.
But he ruled out the attack could have been homophobic.
‘At this time there are no indications that a possible attack was intended to be directed against the demonstration,’ he said.