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19 august 2012 Last updated at 12:38 GMT  

Pro-Israel group stages al-Quds counter protest in Berlin

Pro-Israel groups formed a counter protest against the al-Quds march in the German capital over the weekend, protesting against marche leaders, who have for decades used the last day of Ramadan in Berlin to rail against Israeli policies and the Jewish state. 

Hundreds of people took to the streets to celebrate the so-called holiday, which dates back to the leader of the Iranian revolution, who introduced its celebration on the last day of Ramadan in 1979. 

But Thomas Schulte, spokesperson of a Berlin alliance against al-Quds Day, said it was unacceptable that people would call for the elimination of Israel. 

Anti-Fascist Berlin Alliance leader Thomas Schulte:  

"We think it is important to take to the streets against the al-Quds Day, because we find it unacceptable that people call for the elimination of Israel in the middle of Berlin and we think it is as important to protest against a nazi march as an islamist march and to put something against it." 

Israel considers Iran an existential threat because of its nuclear and missile programs, support for radical anti-Israel groups on its borders and repeated references by Iranian leaders to Israel's destruction. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad himself has repeatedly made such calls. 

In one of his sharpest attacks yet against the Jewish state, Ahmadinejad a day earlier used the occasion to tell worshippers at Tehran University after nationwide pro-Palestinian rallies that confronting Israel is an effort to "protect the dignity of all human beings." 

A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement that Ban condemned the comments, saying leaders in the Middle East should use their voices to "lower, rather than to escalate, tensions." 

The presumptive US Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and his chosen running mate, Paul Ryan, used even stronger words, saying that a Republican administration will pull out all the stops in order to protect America's allies across the world.

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