Berlin Bans Russian Symbols at Soviet Monuments

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To mark the end of World War II in Europe on 8-9 May, Berlin police have banned Russian symbols near Soviet monuments in and around the city. These days, Russian flags, St George’s ribbons, uniforms, medals, military and marching songs, and symbols glorifying Russia’s war against Ukraine, including the Z symbol, are banned in and around the memorials in Treptow, Tiergarten and Schönholzer Heide parks, according to a police regulation made public on the evening of Wednesday, 7 May. Exceptions are provided only for World War II veterans, diplomats and other state representatives. Restrictions also do not apply to rallies outside monuments and adjacent territories. The usual norms of the law on assemblies apply here. The Russian embassy in Berlin has urged the authorities of the German capital to lift a ban on Russian flags and symbols near Soviet monuments. “We regard this ban as discrimination that contradicts the spirit of historical reconciliation between the peoples of Russia and Germany in the post-war period. We consider the decision of the Berlin authorities unacceptable,” the embassy said in a statement. This year the world community marks 79 years since the end of World War II in Europe. In Germany, the events are held on 8 May, while in Russia and most other countries of the former Soviet Union they are held on 9 May due to the time difference in the signing of the surrender treaty of Nazi Germany. This is the third time that commemorative events have been held amid hostilities between Russia and Ukraine. In the past two years, this has led to conflicts between members of different groups of demonstrators.