Fury as German police are filmed tearing down Israel hostage posters: Officials are blasted for ‘absurd’ excuse that officers were protecting ‘social peace’

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By Ketrin Agustine

  • Berlin police were seen tearing down several posters showing Israeli hostages
  • The force was severely criticised for its officers’ actions
  • It comes after British police were called out for tearing down similar posters 

Berlin officials were accused of playing ‘bull**** bingo’ after trying to justify several of the city’s officers tearing down posters depicting images of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. 

At least three uniformed officers were videoed wordlessly taking down posters that share information about some of the roughly 200 civilians who were taken from Israel into Gaza by Hamas following its deadly October 7 attack. 

The posters were stuck to an advertising column, understood to be owned and operated by Ilg-Außenwerbung. 

The video, shared to social media, comes after police in London and Manchester were severely criticised for taking down fliers depicting hostages taken into Gaza by Hamas. 

Berlin’s chief of police, Barbara Slowik, defended the officers’ actions, and said the officers ‘apparently felt compelled to act’ upon seeing the posters. 

Fury as German police are filmed tearing down Israel hostage posters: Officials are blasted for ‘absurd’ excuse that officers were protecting ‘social peace’

A police spokesperson told German newspaper Tagesspiegel that the officers' actions were based on 'their own findings'

The fact that taking down the posters hurt feelings ‘affects me and I regret that extremely,’ she added.

It is not currently clear what grounds the police used to justify taking the posters down, with a police spokesperson telling German newspaper Tagesspiegel that the officers’ actions were based on ‘their own findings.’

The spokesperson told the newspaper that there was no complaint that prompted the action, and no criminal charges were filed against the owner of the advertising column.

Berlin’s state minister for the interior, Iris Spranger, tried to justify the force’s move by claiming that the posters were torn down to preserve ‘security and order’, as well as ‘social peace.’ 

She later admitted that ‘the effect of the action’ was painful for the families of the hostages, and said she regretted it ‘with all my heart.’

But officials were heavily criticised for the way police handled the situation.

A spokesperson for the ‘Independents’ police union, Jörn Badendick, accused Berlin officials of playing ‘bull**** bingo.’ 

‘An explanation that there was a misjudgment would be sufficient. In the heated mood surrounding the Middle East conflict, someone may have feared that someone would feel provoked by the posters,’ he told Tagesspiegel

Berlin’s governing mayor, Kai Wegner, told BILD: ‘The impression that has been created is extremely regrettable. There is no doubt in my mind: our city and our police stand by the victims of terrorism and their families.’

Alexander J. Herrmann, a legal policy spokesman for the Christian-Democratic Union party, said: ‘In view of the numerous illegal posters without legal notice in the city and also in view of the existing discretion of the officers, I am not convinced by the Berlin police’s attempt to justify this.’

Media figures also attacked Berlin officials, with the political editor of Die Welt, Frederik Schindler, writing shortly after the video circulated: ‘This is an absurd setting of priorities – and a capitulation to those who are bothered by such posters.’

Social media users were furious with Berlin’s police force. 

One person wrote on X: ‘The police are simply too cowardly to show civil courage and independence.’

Another said: ‘This is called selective justice.’  

The furore in Germany comes after British police launched an investigation after an officer was seen tearing down posters of Israeli hostages in Manchester, announcing it ‘regrets any offence caused’.

Footage showed a police officer, believed to be part of the Greater Manchester Police force, tearing down posters of those Israelis held hostage after being kidnapped by Hamas

The lone officer seems to ignore questions from distressed passers by

He removes the fliers and appears to take them to his police van

Footage shared online showed the lone officer tearing down fliers of those kidnapped by Hamas on October 7, seemingly ignoring calls from distressed passers by, questioning what they are doing.

One woman is heard shouting ‘Why is the police taking this down? Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me’, receiving no response while walking down Bury Road in Prestwich.

The force has now confirmed an investigation is underway and will work to ensure posters can continue to be displayed.

Assistant Chief Constable Wasim Chaudhry told MailOnline: ‘We know the ongoing conflict in the Middle East is causing great distress to members of Greater Manchester’s Jewish community and our thoughts remain with them at this time.

‘The force has increased engagement with representatives, including the Community Security Trust, to ensure that they feel heard and understood by GMP and to ensure their safety within the city and our neighbourhoods.

‘We share concerns raised regarding the removal of posters in the North Manchester area and can confirm that an investigation is underway.

Residents of the local area, home to a sizeable Jewish community, were quick to react to the video, slamming the actions of the officers 'disgusting'

Video widely-shared to social media showed two officers standing outside Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, flyers showing the innocent missing civilians off the outside of the building

Fury has erupted in north London after Met Police officers pulled down posters of kidnapped Israeli children to avoid inflaming tensions

‘The action taken last night, in response to complaints, is contrary to guidance that the force had already issued to staff in relation to flyposting. We will continue to work with local authorities and the community to ensure posters can be displayed. We regret any offence caused.’

It comes a day after two Met Police officers were seen tearing down fliers, revealing those who were taken from Israel during Hamas barbaric October 7 attack, outside of Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, North London.

Some locals in the area, which is home to a sizeable Jewish community, have slammed the officers over their ‘disgusting actions’. But the Met has insisted they were merely taking steps to ‘stop issues escalating’ and to ‘avoid community tension’.

In a statement, the force said that the missing posters were hung in ‘retaliation’ for comments about the Israel-Hamas war – including branding Israel and the IDF as ‘filthy animals’ – that were posted online by an alleged member of the chemist’s staff. Police said a printout of the remarks was also hung outside the shop.

MailOnline has contacted Berlin Police and Ilg-Außenwerbung for comment.  

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