Thousands of Germans have staged a demonstration in the capital Berlin to protest against spying activities by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other intelligence agencies. Protesters took to the streets of the capital on Saturday, carrying banners that read, “Stop spying on us” and “Thanks to PRISM (the US government's vast data collection programs) the government finally knows what the people want.” According to the organizers of the protest, including the opposition Greens, The Left and Pirates parties, some 20,000 people participated in the demonstration. However, police have not confirmed the figure. The protesters were also furious at what they regard the German government's lax reaction to the US surveillance activities.
“Intelligence agencies like the NSA shamelessly spy on telephone conversations and Internet connections worldwide (and) our government, one of whose key roles is the protection from harm, sends off soothing explanations,” said one of the demonstrators.The massive surveillance operations by the NSA was uncovered in June, when former US intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked two top secret US government spying programs, under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are spying on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies. Germans are seeking answers from Chancellor Angela Merkel and her government about Washington’s spying on the country as reports show that Germany was the most spied country in Europe by NSA. The 30-year-old NSA leaker, who has been granted political asylum in Russia, is wanted in the United States, where he faces charges of “espionage” and “theft of government property.” MR/AS