'Freedom Not Fear': Berlin Rallies Against 'Shameless' NSA Spying

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'Freedom Not Fear': Berlin Rallies Against 'Shameless' NSA Spying

Protesters slam NSA, Merkel for complicity and inaction

Tens of thousands poured into Berlin's streets over the weekend to protest broad surveillance by the the NSA and other intelligence agencies, under the banner of 'Freedom Rather Than Fear,' as new revelations of the broad scope of secret spying continue to set off outrage across the world.

Organizers from opposition Green, The Left, and Pirates parties say 20,000 people joined in the rally that featured signs and banners reading "Stop spying on us" and "Thanks to PRISM (the US government's vast data collection program) the government finally knows what the people want."

Protesters demanded action from Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration, which is both complicit in, and heavily targeted by, NSA spying.

"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," speaker Kai-Uwe Steffens told AFP reporters.

The protests followed last Thursday's revelations, based on documents revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, that US and UK intelligence agencies have defeated encryption codes that protect a wide range of online communications, including email correspondence and online banking. They also came on the heels of last Sunday's revelations that the NSA spied on the private communication of Brazilian and Mexican presidents.

In an ongoing scandal that never ceases to surprise, two new reports—presented on Sunday and based on documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden—show that the NSA has spied on major companies and hacked into personal smart phones.

Protesters marching in Berlin (via Flickr/phopectiveberlin):

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