Christian congress ends after violent protests
The Christian congress “Christival” ends abruptly due to violent protests by pro-gay and pro-abortion activists, following a seminar criticising abortion.
Bremen -- A congress of devout young Protestant Christians in Bremen ended on Sunday after being twice invaded by violent pro-gay and pro-abortion protesters.
Local police said they detained 34 persons who tried to cross police lines on Saturday and break up a panel discussion at which Christians criticised abortion, which has effectively been legalised in Germany.
The seminar had the title, "Sex is God's idea, but is abortion God's idea too?"
Organizers said about 20,000 people attended the religious service that ended the five day event for young people from all over Germany on Sunday. Germany has about 25 million Protestants, but fewer than 10 percent actively go to church.
Earlier, the organisers of the Christival event had cancelled a seminar with a Christian perspective, "Understanding Homosexuality," saying they preferred to de-escalate the rising tension in the city.
On the opening day, 500 people from a "No Christival" committee vented their opposition to Christians and one policeman was hurt as they pushed past a crowd barrier and invaded the venue.
Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of Germany's EKD council of Evangelic Churches, defended the fifth Christival since 1976, saying it was unfair to judge a congress with 300 discussions, concerts and workshops on the basis of just two items on its schedule.