In Berlin, Obama speaks out against hiding behind walls

The former U.S. president was speaking today alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in front of a massive crowd of up to 140,000 which gave him rapturous applause at the biennial congress of the German Protestant Church.

The panel titled, "Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally", was co-organized by the Obama foundation and is the highlight of the 2,500 events this weekend, marking the 500th anniversary of the German protestant reformation.

Barack Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared at a public debate Thursday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he praised as one of his "favourite partners" during his presidency. Certainly I have some regrets that we weren't able to get everyone health care.

But Merkel and Obama stayed away from the campaign with their discussion focused on faith and politics in general.

"Yesterday (Wednesday) we were informed that it was now not considered opportune for Turkey's highest level to hold political talks with the German parliamentary side in Turkey", Roth said, describing the situation as "political provocation". We didn't quite achieve that but we were able to get 20 million people health care who didn't have it before.

More than 140,000 people are expected to attend the festival with many visiting to catch a glimpse of the former U.S. president.

Yesterday evening, more than 100,000 worshippers attended three open-air services marked the start of the "Kirchentag" gathering of the German Protestant Church Assembly, which has been held every two years since 1949.

"The world is at a crossroads", said Obama, speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

"We can't isolate ourselves".

"I'm very proud of the work I did as president", he said to cheers, adding he was especially proud of health care reform.

Obama also discussed human rights, saying it's important to "push back against those trends that would violate human rights or that would suppress democracy or that would restrict individuals freedoms of conscious or religion".

"In the eyes of good, the child on the other side of the border deserves the same compassion", he states, evoking cheers from the crowd.

Later on Thursday, Merkel will meet Obama's successor, Donald Trump, when she travels to Brussels for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit. "That is what we mean when we say inclusive growth and we have to understand this and invest in this", Merkel said.

  • Leroy Wright