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Thousands protest against anti-Semitism in Berlin in wake of synagogue attack

A woman with an Israel flag protests with thousands of people on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, against rising anti-Semitism, days after a man attacked a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle. More than six thousand participated in the march through the German capital on Sunday.
A woman with an Israel flag protests with thousands of people on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019 in Berlin, Germany, against rising anti-Semitism, days after a man attacked a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle. More than six thousand participated in the march through the German capital on Sunday. (Paul Zinken/dpa via AP)

Thousands of people in Berlin protested against anti-Semitism on Sunday, days after a man attacked a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

About 10,000 people participated in the march through the German capital. Several thousand others protested Saturday in other cities including Hamburg and Marburg.

Many Germans are in shock over Wednesday’s attack in which two people were killed outside the synagogue and in a kebab shop. The attack has renewed concerns about rising far-right extremism and questions about the slow police response.

READ MORE: Man accused in German synagogue shooting admits anti-Semitic motive

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On Sunday, people started their march at a symbolic landmark, Berlin’s Bebelplatz square, where the Nazis burnt thousands of books by Jews, Communist and other opponents, weeks after Adolf Hitler took power in 1933.

Two killed in shooting near synagogue in German city of Halle
Two killed in shooting near synagogue in German city of Halle

The marchers carried Israeli flags and banners with slogans like “No Nazis” or “Far-right terror threatens our society.”

The rally was organized by the civil rights group Unteilbar, or “Indivisible,” under the slogan “We stand united” and ended at the city’s New Synagogue with its famous golden dome topped by a Star of David.

Friedhelm Schmitt, a 52-year-old neurologist, said he’d joined the protest “because I had to. It’s my democratic duty. It’s like going to vote.”

READ MORE: Shooter spoke of anti-Semitic views in video of German synagogue attack that killed 2

He unsuccessfully tried for several minutes to enter the house of worship, where more than 50 people were attending a prayer service, but the door withstood his shots. He then killed two people and severely injured a couple before he was detained by police.

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Police have been criticized because they arrived at the synagogue seven minutes after they were alerted to the shooting.