Thousands protest in Berlin against giving weapons to Ukraine

Thousands of people have taken part in a demonstration in central Berlin, protesting against the German government’s urging of Vladimir Putin to negotiate a way to deescalate the crisis instead of providing Ukraine with more weapons.

Alice Schwarzer, an experienced advocate for gender equality, and Sahra Wagenknecht, a rebellious member of the Left party, orchestrated the Uprising for Peace at the Brandenburg Gate, where law enforcement approximated a crowd of 13,000 individuals.

The organizers stated that as many as 50,000 individuals participated. Comparable protests occurred in other cities in Germany.

She said that the demonstrators felt united by the fact that the government of Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister of Ukraine, did not feel represented by their decision to provide weapons. In her speech at the protest, Sahra Wagenknecht spoke of the start of a new strong peace movement in Germany, signaling the beginning of a “citizens’ initiative.”

Protesters carried banners reading “Headgear presently, armored vehicles in the future, and subsequently your offspring,” as a reference to the coalition government’s escalated military aid to Kyiv. Originally, they provided 5,000 helmets, but they have now agreed to send German-manufactured Leopard II tanks.

Other signs display the messages: “Diplomats instead of grenades”, “End the Violence”, and “I do not support this war or government”.

Norbert, a former soldier, expressed his belief that Germany, after the second world war, should not have been allowed to engage in another war. He refused to disclose his surname while holding a banner that read “The true adversary resides in the City of London and New York,” referring to the financial authorities whom he accused of orchestrating the war without any intention of bringing it to a conclusion. He further stated, “We are akin to pawns in the hands of war and those who promote it.”

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The Uprising for Peace was organised by left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht (centre) and women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer (right). Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

One man held a banner on which he said that people had been numbed into accepting the war by the sedative effects of the coronavirus vaccine, as songs like Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” and John Lennon’s “Imagine” blasted from the loudspeakers around the demonstration.

Edith, a woman who held a sizable picture of the Indian freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi, urged for the cessation of this chaotic situation, emphasizing the need to emulate his model of peaceful opposition.

In other locations, additional nearby protests displayed solidarity with Ukraine, featuring banners that said: “End Putin’s Conflict” and “Support Ukraine’s Self-Defense”.

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

It is likely that negotiations would be pointless if the case was that. We can be happy that Putin is not like a crazy Russian nationalist who is intoxicated with the idea of shifting borders. On February 20, 2022, a group of anti-fascist demonstrators held a poster pointing out how Wagenknecht had put warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine on broadcast TV, stating that it was propaganda media.

Refusing to supply arms to Ukraine is tantamount to endorsing genocide, as proclaimed by a gathering of Ukrainians draped in their national flag, who displayed posters and chanted slogans outside the neighboring Russian embassy.

According to Overko Roman, a resident of Lviv in Ukraine who currently resides in Berlin, the notion of negotiating is naive. It is impossible to have a conversation with these enemies of humanity, just like you would with regular individuals. Putin is comparable to a second Hitler.

Many people taking part in the protest carried placards saying tanks should not be supplied to Ukraine. Photograph: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

Yevhen Titarenko, a Ukrainian film director based in Berlin, presented his Eastern Front documentary featuring a volunteer battalion of medics on the frontline. He mentioned that before the demonstration, some people labeled them as pacifists, but he disagrees with that notion. He also imagined someone attempting to blow down their doors if they don’t shoot back, but he considers himself to be too much of a pacifist to engage in such violent acts.

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Critics singled out Baerbock as the government official bearing the greatest accountability for escalating Germany’s involvement in the conflict at the protest. Throughout Wagenknecht’s speech, participants angrily chanted “Baerbock raus” – which translates to “Baerbock out” in English. Scholz and Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, the leader of the Bundestag defense committee for the pro-business FDP, who has been urging the government to provide greater military assistance, also faced criticism.

The risk of the war spreading across Europe and potentially the entire world was extremely significant. She mentioned that the ongoing conflict had reignited her childhood anxieties about a nuclear war in the 1980s. Instead of an endless war of exhaustion with increasingly advanced weaponry, she suggested engaging in negotiations with Russia. Wagenknecht stated that her primary motivation was to stop the “horrendous suffering and death in Ukraine”.

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

So far, approximately 650,000 individuals, including prominent political figures and intellectuals, have signed it. Two weeks ago, Schwarzer and Wagenknecht published a “Manifesto for Peace,” in which they urged Chancellor Scholz to halt the escalation of weapon deliveries.

They have faced criticism in recent days after suggesting that anyone with a “heart for peace” would be welcome to attend their far-right demonstration.

For peace were being discredited.Output: As betrayers were being discredited, it was “disturbing” that those who advocated for harmony added it was “disturbing” that those who advocated for harmony were being discredited. “A year after the commencement of the conflict, we urgently require sincere endeavors towards peace talks instead of further intensification!” Proclaiming: “A year after the commencement of the conflict, we urgently require sincere endeavors towards peace talks instead of further intensification!” At the Brandenburg Gate, adjacent to the emblem of a peaceful dove, Jörg Urban, the chairman for Saxony of the far-right populist AfD party, shared a photograph. On Twitter, the far-right populist AfD party shared a photograph of Jörg Urban, its chairman for Saxony, at the Brandenburg Gate, beside the symbol of a dove of peace, stating: “A year after the commencement of the conflict, we urgently require sincere endeavors towards peace talks instead of further intensification!” It added it was “disturbing” that those who advocated for peace were being discredited.

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Jürgen Elsässer, the chief editor of Compact, a publication that directly represents the AfD, was also present. At the beginning of the protest, the police stepped in to resolve a disturbance when anti-fascist protesters attempted to exclude him and his group.

The leadership of Wagenknecht’s own political party, Die Linke, separated themselves from the occasion.

Katja Mast, a member of the Social Democrats, accused the organizers of “promoting Russian propaganda”.

The finance minister, Christian Lindner, declared, “Those who do not support Ukraine are aligning themselves with the wrong side of history,” as he disapproved of the rally.

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