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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2007, 19:04 GMT
Germans put price on protesting
Doctors and health workers protest in Magdeburg in 2006
But in future there may be paid protesters in their ranks
They refuse to rally for neo-Nazis, but as long as the price is right a new type of German mercenary will take to the streets and protest for you.

Young, good-looking, and available for around 150 euros (100), more than 300 would-be protesters are marketing themselves on a German rental website.

They feature next to cars, DVDs, office furniture and holiday homes.

For some, these protesters show how soulless life has become. For others, they breathe new life into old causes.

Staging a protest

Their descriptions read like those on a dating site.

I would like to point out that not all protests will tally with my own point of view and I would like to distance myself from these
Demonstrators' disclaimer

Next to a black and white posed picture, Melanie lists her details from her jeans size to her shoe size and tells potential protest organisers that she is willing to be deployed up to 100km around Berlin.

Six hours of Melanie bearing your banner or shouting your slogan will set you back 145 euros.

A spokesperson for erento.com was unable to say how many demonstrators had been booked since the service was launched earlier this month, but that there had certainly been demand.

Organisations using the service are unlikely to reveal themselves, keen to pass off their protesters as genuine supporters of the cause. But German media reported a Munich march had hired protesters because its own adherents were too old to stand for hours waving banners.

Erento.com stresses that no protester needs to offer their services to a cause they object to, and therefore many may genuinely believe in the protest they are joining.

But the fact they are paid has perturbed a number of commentators in Germany, especially those who remember the passion-fuelled protests of 1968.

"It seems to confirm the increasingly common assumption," wrote one, "that democracy is for sale".




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