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German police megaphone used in anti-Israel rant

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER
The Associated Press

BERLIN German police allowed an anti-Israel protester to climb inside a police car and shout slogans including "child murderer Israel" and "Allahu akbar!" — Arabic for "God is Great!" — through a police megaphone, a spokeswoman for Frankfurt's police said Sunday.

Police let the protester use the megaphone during a Free Gaza demonstration Saturday because he had offered to calm down a protest that had turned violent, spokeswoman Virginie Wegner told The Associated Press.

"We as police had come up spontaneously with this unusual method and he abused it — we didn't expect that," Wegner said, adding that police were investigating the incident. "Police are neutral during protests."

Instead of calming things down, the protester — whose identity was not revealed — shouted anti-Israel slogans in German and Arabic in downtown Frankfurt. A video that went viral shows a crowd following the police car, cheering and repeating the chants.

More than 2,000 people participated in the Frankfurt protest, many waving Palestinian flags and wearing T-shirts calling for a boycott of Israeli products.

The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, condemned the incident.

"I'm shocked that a German police car was used to spread hatred and agitation," Graumann told the AP. "It was a big mistake that the police let themselves abuse for this."

Since the outbreak of the latest violence between Israel and the Palestinians six days ago, there have been several demonstrations for and against Israel in different German cities including Frankfurt, Berlin and Duesseldorf.

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