President Obama landed in Berlin Tuesday evening for his first official visit to the German capital, but his reception in the privacy-loving nation might have been warmer if not for the recent revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.
A few dozen demonstrators gathered at Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall crossing that became a historic symbol of Cold War tensions. Wielding signs reading "Yes We Scan" and "Privacy Ends Here," the group told reporters that they see widespread data collection as a human rights violation.
Here are a few of the images from the demonstration, via Digitale Gesellschaft, a German advocacy group:
The protest was small, but it speaks to larger rifts over privacy between the U.S. and Germany, where memories of the Stasi still linger. It's estimated that one in every seven East Germans was once a Stasi informer, and the secret police monitored almost every form of communication there in an attempt to root out anti-Communist sentiment. Germans seem repulsed by anything that even resembles that level of surveillance, and in the past they've gone to great lengths in order to force Internet companies to protect user data.
When the NSA story broke, German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised to raise the issue with Obama, and the country's justice minister wrote in an op-ed that said, "The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is."