Thousands protest in Germany for solidarity in energy relief

BERLIN/DUsseldorf, October 22 – Tens of thousands of protesters gathered in six German cities on Saturday to demand a fairer distribution of government funds to deal with rising energy prices and living costs and a faster transition away from fossil fuels.

Demonstrators marched in Berlin, Dusseldorf, Hanover, Stuttgart, Dresden and Frankfurt-am-Main, carrying banners with slogans about everything from lowering inflation to stopping nuclear power and more energy price subsidies for the poor.

About 24 thousand people participated, according to Greenpeace, one of the organizers. Police said about 1,800 protesters had gathered in Berlin.

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“We want to show that we desperately need a subsidy for socially balanced citizens. The government is doing a lot but it distributes the money with a watering can. People with low incomes need more support than the rich,” said Andrea Kochis, Verdi’s vice president, one of the unions organizing the protests.

The German parliament on Friday approved the government’s 200 billion euro ($195 billion) rescue package aimed at protecting businesses and households from the impact of rising energy prices.

The package includes a single payment to cover the monthly gas bill for households and small and medium-sized businesses and a mechanism to limit prices from March.

It will also fund capping electricity prices for homes and industry retroactively from March for spot prices and from December for future prices, with additional funding taken from the electricity companies’ earnings.

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German inflation in September hit its highest level in more than a quarter of a century at 10.9%, driven by rising energy costs.

“I would find it better to distribute in a more equitable way,” said Ulrich Franz, a protester in Berlin. “There are millionaires who say they want to pay more taxes. I don’t see anything happening on that front.”

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(Reporting by Leon Malherb, Oliver Denzer, Authored by Victoria Waldrusy

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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