BERLIN (AP) — Demonstrators are marching in Germany's capital in support of the private aid ships that rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.

The rescue ships are encountering increasing opposition from authorities in Italy and other countries. The new Italian interior minister has refused to give them entry to the country's ports.

A crowd that appeared to be a few thousand strong gathered in central Berlin on Saturday, with many people holding aloft orange life jackets. Similar demonstrations were planned in several other German cities.

One of the ships caught in the crackdown was operated by a German aid group, Mission Lifeline. The vessel was eventually allowed to dock in Malta, where prosecutors are seeking its confiscation and have brought illegal entry and other charges against the captain.