Germans Protest in Support of Migrant Rescues in the Mediterranean

Protesters in Berlin hold up life jackets while taking part in a protest against the criminalization of migrant and refugee rescue operations run by NGOs. NGOs have come under increasing political pressure and been blocked from docking. Thousands of people took part in protests in several German cities on Saturday, including Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen, Munich and Ulm. Organizers said around 12,000 people marched in the German capital in support of the rescuers.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, the number of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe is down considerably from previous years. Despite this, it’s been one of the deadliest years in the Mediterranean. Over 1,400 people died or went missing while making the crossing from Africa so far this year.

In recent weeks, several NGO ships operating in the Mediterranean have come under fire by European politicians who have either blocked their entry into harbors or delayed their docking. EU leaders accuse the ships of playing into the hands of human traffickers, while the NGOs argue that many people would die if their ships were not allowed to operate.

Read more on Deutsche Welle.