The “Manifesto for Peace” by Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer has recently caused heated discussions. Now they have taken their demands to the streets of Berlin.
Doves of peace on posters, the call for negotiations with Russia and a ceasefire in the Ukraine war: despite the sleet and cold, many thousands of people followed a call by Sahra Wagenknecht and Alice Schwarzer to a rally in Berlin today, Saturday. The left-wing politician and the women’s rights activist wanted to underpin their demands from their controversial “Manifesto for Peace”.
After the event at the Brandenburg Gate, the police spoke of more than 13,000 participants, the organizer of 50,000. The protest met with strong rejection in some cases, not only because isolated right-wing and right-wing extremists mingled with the participants. Critics accused Schwarzer and Wagenknecht of being naive and misleading.
Wagenknecht demands a stop to arms deliveries
On stage, partly cheered by the audience, Wagenknecht again called for a stop to arms deliveries to Ukraine, which had been attacked by Russia, and called for peace negotiations. It is about “ending the terrible suffering and dying in Ukraine”. At the same time, it is about making an offer to negotiate with Russia, “instead of munitions an endless war of attrition with ever new weapons.” It is important to avert the risk of the war spreading to all of Europe and possibly the world. This risk is “damn big”.
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had already sharply criticized the demands of Schwarzer and Wagenknecht before the rally. They wanted to sell something as peace that an “imperialist dictator” was forcing on Europe, the vice chancellor said on Friday evening on ARD. If that goes through, it would be an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade the next few countries. “It’s not peace, it’s a chimera that’s being built there, it’s politically misleading the population.”
In the run-up, numerous prominent politicians from the SPD and the left had distanced themselves from the demo call. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) also made it clear that they did not share the conviction in the “Manifesto for Peace”. On the other hand, more than 640,000 people declared their approval of the “Manifesto” on the Internet.
An elderly woman on site summed up her concerns and her reason for taking part: “It’s about our world. If we don’t do something against the war in Ukraine and Russia, then there will be a third world war. And probably to nuclear war – and we are very strict against it.”
Black asks about the aim of the war
On stage, women’s rights activist Schwarzer called it “quite right to stand by the side of the Ukrainians who were brutally attacked by Russia with weapons – initially to defend themselves”. Therefore it is now right “after a year of death and devastation to ask about the aim of this war and its proportionality.”
Former General Erich Vad called for “an end to the war rhetoric in Germany”, an end to the military escalation and the early start of negotiations. “It is naïve to believe that Russia can be defeated militarily without a nuclear war.” The war of aggression triggered by Russia, which violates international law, has become a “war of attrition” after a year – this means that there is no longer a reasonable military solution.
Wagenknecht sharply criticized the course of the federal government. One does not feel represented by Chancellor Scholz. The left-wing politician called for the “start of a strong new peace movement”. Of course, neo-Nazis and citizens of the Reich have no place at the rally.
A police spokesman said there were minor fisticuffs on the sidelines of the event. In addition, according to the police, a group of left-wing counter-demonstrators had a loud argument with the publisher of the “Compact Magazine”, Jürgen Elsässer. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution classifies the magazine as a proven right-wing extremist effort. A police spokesman said after the demo that the police had no knowledge of right-wing extremists on site.
AfD members on site
Some posters contained media criticism. According to party information, numerous members of the AfD were also on site. “Right-wing extremists, Holocaust deniers and supporters of Russia were at Schwarzer’s and Wagenknecht’s demonstration. That’s bad and harms Germany. Nothing that happened in front of the Brandenburg Gate helps Ukraine,” said Katja Mast, SPD parliamentary secretary.
There were many older people on site. Many slogans and flags come from the peace movement of the 1980s. Left Party banners were also displayed. Saturday’s event was larger than the day before, when more than 10,000 people demonstrated in Berlin against the war and demanded support for Ukraine.
For negotiations, Russia is demanding, among other things, an end to Western arms deliveries and the cessation of hostilities. Probably the most important thing, however, is the recognition as Russian of the Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia in violation of international law. In effect, that would mean that Ukraine would have to give up at least a fifth of its own territory – that much is currently occupied by Russia’s army.
Ukrainians keep pointing out that a supposed peace under these conditions would mean the end of their country’s sovereignty. Kiev therefore requires the complete withdrawal of Russia’s troops for peace talks, as well as reparations payments and the legal prosecution of those responsible for the aggressive war in Moscow. However, President Volodymyr Zelenskyj has ruled out negotiations under a Russian President Putin per se.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.