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Protesters In Germany Rally In Support Of Afghan Refugees

FILE: Afghan refugees protest in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin in 2012.

Several thousand people took part in demonstrations across Germany to protest the forced return of Afghan refugees whose bids for asylum have been rejected.

"The people who are forced to return cannot live their lives in safety there," organizers in Hamburg said of the situation in Afghanistan.

“A life in dignity is inconceivable under these conditions," they added.

The largest demonstrations were reportedly in Berlin and the western city of Dusseldorf, where an estimated 2,000 people took to the streets in each city. A Hamburg demonstration drew about 1,500.

The Refugee Council of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said the demonstrations aimed to encourage the NRW interior minister to push for a nationwide halt to deportations to Afghanistan.

Organizers said about 12,000 refugees have been ordered to leave Germany for Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by dpa and Deutsche Welle