Police in Germany have admitted they let their trust be "abused" when they allowed a protester during a Free Gaza demonstration to take over their van's megaphone.
The incident, which was caught on camera during the course of the protest on Saturday, resulted in the bizarre situation of having a police van driving down the main street in Frankfurt blaring out slogans including “child murderer Israel” and “Allahu akbar” — the Arabic for “God is great”.
It was initially suggested on social media that the German police were actively supporting the Palestinian cause and taking part in the protest themselves.
But a spokesperson for the force later admitted that the officers had been tricked by a persuasive protester who insisted he would use the megaphone to help calm down the crowd.
Frankfurt police's Virginie Wegner told reporters that officers had feared the demonstration was starting to turn violent at the time.
“We as police had come up spontaneously with this unusual method and he abused it — we didn't expect that,” Wegner said.
“Police are neutral during protests,” she added. The force is now reported to be internally investigating how the incident was allowed to happen.
Video footage showed the police van with its lights flashing moving down the road entirely encircled by chanting protesters. A different angle appeared to show the protester inside the vehicle - sitting alongside police officers - while his voice continued to be heard over the megaphone.
Instead of calming things down, the protester — whose identity was not revealed — shouted anti-Israel slogans in German and Arabic in downtown Frankfurt.
More than 2,000 people participated in the Frankfurt protest, many waving Palestinian flags and wearing T-shirts calling for a boycott of Israeli products.
The head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dieter Graumann, condemned the incident.
“I'm shocked that a German police car was used to spread hatred and agitation,” Graumann said. “It was a big mistake that the police let themselves be abused for this.”
Since the outbreak of the latest violence between Israel and the Palestinians six days ago, there have been several demonstrations for and against Israel across different German cities including Frankfurt, Berlin and Düsseldorf.