To commemorate World War II on May 8th and 9th, Ukrainian flags can now be displayed around the three Soviet memorials in Berlin. This was decided by the Berlin Administrative Court in an urgent procedure, as a court spokesman confirmed on Saturday. Russian flags and symbols initially remained banned. However, according to the Berlin police, there was also an urgent application to the administrative court on Saturday.
Originally, the police issued a ban on Russian and Ukrainian flags and symbols around the Soviet memorials on May 8th and 9th. The two days mark the 78th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe.
Since Russia has attacked Ukraine and both countries are currently at war, conflicts were feared for the anniversary. The police justified their general decree by ensuring the "dignified commemoration of the fallen soldiers of the former Soviet Army".
That's why the police wanted to ban not only Russian and Ukrainian flags, but also symbols and images as well as the playing of marching and military songs around the three memorials. In addition, she wanted to prohibit "making exclamations that, given the current situation, are likely to approve, glorify or glorify the war in Ukraine".
Urgent application successful
The Ukrainian association Vitsche appealed to the administrative court against the ban on Ukrainian symbols with an urgent application, as announced on Twitter. Lawyer Patrick Heinemann told the "Tagesspiegel": "The administrative court has confirmed our legal opinion: The ban on Ukrainian flags is - in the words of the court - obviously illegal." Anyone who makes use of their basic right to publicly acknowledge the Ukrainian nation and its historical victims in the defeat of National Socialism is not a threat to public security.
There had already been a flag ban last year. At the time, it caused a lot of criticism from the Ukrainian side, including from the then Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andriy Melnyk. According to its own statement, the Senate wanted to prevent the World War II commemoration from being overshadowed by possible conflicts in connection with the current war in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the party Die Linke called for May 8 to be declared a holiday "for liberation and anti-fascism" nationwide and even beyond. "This sets a clear political signal and gives people more time for appropriate commitment and education," said party chairman Martin Schirdewan on Sunday. "Introducing a nationwide holiday dedicated to freedom in addition to Unity Day would have a symbolic effect beyond our borders." The left now wants to start a European initiative with friendly parties. In some European countries May 8th is already an official holiday.