More than a thousand people protested last Saturday in Frankfurt against the German government’s deportation of refugees to Afghanistan. After a rally at the central Opernplatz square, a growing number of people joined the peaceful demonstration in the downtown area.
On December 14, 34 Afghan refugees were deported in a special charter plane from the Rhein-Main Airport, and additional group deportations to Kabul are planned later this month. Last year, a total of 25,000 people were deported from Germany, primarily from the Frankfurt Airport.
The rally in front of the old opera house was called on January 7 by the Frankfurt Afghan Hindu Cultural Association and other associations of Hindus and Sikhs. Their placards read “Stop Deportation and Persecution,” “We are human beings and not numbers!” “Equal Rights for Refugees,” “Keep families together,” and “I would like to live as a human being instead of dying as a Sikh in Afghanistan.”
Before 1980, up to 220,000 Hindus and Sikhs lived in Afghanistan, according to a spokesperson of the organizers. However, their number has fallen to 1,300 because under neither the Taliban nor the current NATO-supported government has it been possible for them to live a peaceful life, free of physical threat. In reality, the country is highly unsafe for all civilians today.
“We came to Germany with high hopes,” continued the spokesperson. “We have settled down and become a part of the society and support newcomers whenever we can. But that belongs to the past.” The group deportations into a land of crisis have struck refugee communities from Afghanistan at the heart, he said:…