Thousands protest in Berlin against giving weapons to Ukraine | Germany

Hundreds of people have taken part in a demonstration in central Berlin to protest against giving additional weapons to Ukraine, urging the German authorities to deescalate the disaster by paving the way for negotiations with Vladimir Putin rather.

Police estimated there were being 13,000 individuals at the Uprising for Peace, at the Brandenburg Gate, organised by Sahra Wagenknecht, a renegade member of the Hyperlinks get together, and veteran feminist campaigner Alice Schwarzer.

The organisers claimed as numerous as 50,000 took part. Similar demonstrations took area in other German cities.

In a speech at the protest, Wagenknecht spoke of “the get started of a citizens’ initiative” and a “starting signal for a new, solid peace motion in Germany”. She stated the demonstrators had been united by the truth they did not come to feel represented by the governing administration of Olaf Scholz and his overseas minister Annalena Baerbock more than their decision to supply Ukraine with weapons.

Protesters throughout Europe demonstrate towards war in Ukraine – video report

Protesters carried banners studying: ‘Helmets these days, tanks tomorrow, the working day just after tomorrow your sons,” in reference to the manner in which the coalition governing administration has amplified its navy guidance for Kyiv, in the beginning donating 5,000 helmets and far more a short while ago agreeing to send German-designed Leopard II tanks.

Other banners read: “Diplomaten statt Grenaten (Diplomats in its place of grenades)”, “Stop the Killing” and “Not My War, Not My Government”.

“We are like the slaves to war and the warmongers,” reported Norbert, a former soldier, declining to give his surname, who held a banner looking through “The real enemy sits in the City of London and New York,” a reference he claimed to the economical powers who he claimed ended up at the rear of the war and had no interest in it ending. Germany, he mentioned, experienced no correct to participate in a further war, just after the next planet war.

Sahra Wagenknecht (centre) and women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer (right).
The Rebellion for Peace was organised by remaining-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht (centre) and women’s legal rights activist Alice Schwarzer (suitable). Photograph: Anadolu Company/Getty Visuals

Just one male held a banner on which he mentioned people experienced been numbed into accepting the war by the sedative consequences of the coronavirus vaccine. All around the demonstration, loudspeakers blasted peace tunes these types of as John Lennon’s Think about and Nena’s 99 Crimson Balloons.

A woman identified as Edith, carrying a massive portrait of the Indian groundbreaking Mahatma Gandhi, mentioned: “We should really observe his case in point of nonviolent resistance to bring an end to this madness.”

In other places, other close by demonstrations showed sympathy for Ukraine, with banners examining: “Stop Putin’s War” and “Help Ukraine Defend Itself”.

Thousands of people gather during a demonstration at Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate, calling for peace negotiations with Russia in the Ukraine war.
Hundreds of individuals collect in the course of a demonstration at Berlin’s historic Brandenburg Gate, calling for peace negotiations with Russia in the Ukraine war. Photograph: Anadolu Company/Getty Images

A poster held by a group of anti-fascist demonstrators pointed out how Wagenknecht experienced put warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine down to media propaganda, stating in a Television set broadcast on 20 February, 2022: “We can be pleased that Putin is not like he is presented as staying, specifically a mad Russian nationalist who is intoxicated with the notion of shifting borders. If that was the situation, then negotiations would probably be pointless.”

A team of Ukrainians wrapped in their country’s flag exterior the close by Russian embassy held up posters and slogans including, “Not providing weapons to Ukraine is the equivalent to genocide support”.

Roman Overko, from the Ukrainian city of Lviv who now lives in Berlin, mentioned: “The concept of negotiating is naive. How do you negotiate with this kind of enemies of humanity? You just cannot talk to them like standard people. Putin is a 2nd Hitler.”

Many people taking part in the protest carried placards saying tanks should not be supplied to Ukraine.
Many men and women getting element in the protest carried placards saying tanks must not be equipped to Ukraine. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Yevhen Titarenko, a Ukrainian film director in Berlin to existing his documentary Japanese Front, shot on the frontline with a volunteer medics battalion, stated prior to the demonstration: “The demonstrators say they are pacifists. Very well, I’m a pacifist way too. But imagine someone’s seeking to blow your doorways down, if you don’t shoot again, they’ll just kill you, acquire all you have, rape your wife, get rid of your little ones. To make an agreement with a clinically mad old guy will make no perception.”

Baerbock was singled out at the demonstration as the federal government member with the most obligation for drawing Germany further into the conflict. Members angrily shouted “Baerbock raus” – or Baerbock out – for the duration of and at the finish of Wagenknecht’s tackle. Scholz and the pro-business enterprise FDP’s Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, head of the Bundestag defence committee, who has pressured the govt to supply a lot more armed forces assistance, ended up also criticised.

Wagenknecht stated her major drive was to deliver to an end the “terrible suffering and dying in Ukraine”. But that meant presenting Russia negotiations, she explained, “instead of a in no way-ending war of attrition with at any time newer weapons”. She said her childhood fears of a nuclear war in the 1980s had been revived by the latest conflict. The chance of the enlargement of the war across Europe and perhaps the planet was “very big”.

Roses on a destroyed Russian tank type T-72 next to the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany.
Roses on a destroyed Russian tank variety T-72 up coming to the Russian embassy in Berlin, Germany. Photograph: Steffi Loos/Getty Pictures

Two weeks back Wagenknecht and Schwarzer experienced revealed a “Manifest for Peace” in which they urged Chancellor Scholz to “stop the escalation in weapons deliveries”. It has so far been signed by about 650,000 individuals, together with prominent intellectuals and political figures.

They had been criticised in current times right after suggesting that “anyone whose coronary heart beat for peace” would be welcome to the demonstration, soon after far-ideal groups expressed their desire to attend.

On Twitter, the significantly-right populist AfD celebration posted a photo of Jörg City, its chairman for Saxony, at the Brandenburg Gate, next to the symbol of a dove of peace, stating: “A 12 months soon after the start off of the war we eventually want really serious initiatives toward peace negotiations as a substitute of additional escalation!” It included it was “alarming” that these who named for peace were being becoming discredited as traitors.

Jürgen Elsässer, editor-in-main of Compact, a journal right symbolizing the AfD, was also current. Law enforcement intervened at the start out of the demonstration to break up a scuffle as anti-fascist demonstrators tried using to exclude him and his entourage.

The management of Wagenknecht’s individual bash, Die Linke, distanced on their own from the celebration.

The Social Democrats’ Katja Mast accused the organisers of “serving Russian propaganda”.

Christian Lindner, the finance minister, condemned the rally, declaring: “Those who really do not stand at Ukraine’s aspect are standing on the false aspect of history”.

Francis McGee

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