More than a thousand Scientologists on Monday chanted slogans and songs borrowed from the U.S. civil rights movement, alleging they are victims of religious persecution.
The protest attracted members of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology from across Europe, Canada and the United States, including such prominent Scientologists as Chick Corea, Issac Hayes and Anne Archer - who delivered a message from John Travolta.
The protesters - crowd estimates ranged from 1,500 to 2,000 - marched about a mile from Frankfurt’s main train station to the Alte Oper opera house just outside city center.
In recent months, a number of German states and organizations have banned Scientologists from participation in political parties.
The Hesse state Interior Ministry issued a statement criticizing Monday’s demonstration for religious freedom as “misleading.”
“Scientology hides its true ambitions to make money and win influence, under the auspices of religious freedom, without consideration for those people it affects,” the statement said. Scientology is a religion founded 41 years ago by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. Scientology views the individual, rather than a supreme god, as the spiritual being.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.