Several thousand people followed the call by left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht, women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer and former Brigadier General Erich Vad on Saturday and gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin for a demonstration in support of peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.
Thousands of participants at the demonstration in Berlin
According to the DPA news agency, the Berlin police spoke of around 10,000 participants at noon, the organizers of 50,000 – reporters on site reported a continuing influx. Due to overcrowding, the subways ran through the adjacent stations without stopping.
Germany needs a strong peace movement again, said Sahra Wagenknecht on the stage. “This is just the beginning,” she called out to the demonstrators. There were loud boos and whistles for Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) as soon as her name was mentioned. The meeting ended at around 3:45 p.m. The police had not reported any special incidents until then.
In the run-up to the meeting, the initiators were criticized for not clearly distinguishing themselves from the expected participants from the right-wing extremist spectrum. Schwarzer, Wagenknecht and Vad, on the other hand, said: “Right-wing extremist flags, emblems and symbols have no place at our rally.” However, well-known right-wing extremists were also present.
The renunciation of party or national flags was also demanded. In fact, in addition to flags with peace symbols, Russian flags were occasionally seen at the demonstration.
Showing the letters Z and V and “other war-glorifying symbolism” and “using Russian and Soviet military flags” were banned by the authorities. According to the police, around 1,400 emergency services are on site. Counter-demonstrations were announced.
Organizers around Wagenknecht and Schwarzer under criticism
The call for demonstrations by Wagenknecht, Schwarzer and Vad said: “We call on the Federal Chancellor to stop the escalation of arms deliveries. (…) He should lead a strong alliance for a ceasefire at both German and European level and set for peace negotiations.” Every additional day of war brings a third world war closer. The demonstration was held under the motto “Rebellion for Peace”.
The federal government does not share the demands of the organizers. One has to understand “that the Russian President currently only accepts one form of negotiations, namely that someone surrenders unconditionally and he implements all his goals,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), for example.
Sources: , , News agencies DPA and AFP
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