Pro-Russian demonstrations in Germany may be "illegal under German law"

Pro-Russian demonstrators have gathered in several German cities for a second day calling for an end to alleged "intolerance" against the country's large Russian-speaking population. But critics say the demonstrations are a thinly-veiled show of support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which would in fact make the protests illegal under German law.

Since the start of the conflict, police have recorded 383 anti-Russian offences and 181 anti-Ukrainian offences, according to AFP news agency.

Hundreds of people marched in Frankfurt waving Russian flags while around 600 pro-Russians gathered in Hanover were outnumbered by around 700 pro-Ukrainian demonstrators, local police said.

The protests were broadly peaceful, but Reuters news agency said police arrested some people in Frankfurt for chanting "Donbas belongs to Russia" - a reference to the eastern region of Ukraine that borders Russia.

Police in Lubeck said they stopped a convoy of around 60 vehicles because it used "banned symbols" and expressed support for Russia's invasion, AFP reports.

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