Protesters gathered over the weekend at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate to oppose the German government’s continued arms deliveries to Ukraine.
February 25th’s demonstration, named the Uprising for Peace, was organized by Die Linke (The Left) Bundestag member Sahra Wagenknecht, who formerly led the party’s parliamentary faction, and Alice Schwarz, a prominent, long-time writer and feminist campaigner. Between 13,000 and 50,000 people participated, depending on the media reporting, the daily Berliner Zeitung wrote.
The protest’s organizers contend that nearly 50,000 people took to the streets to call for peace negotiations to help bring an end to the year-long Russo-Ukrainian war, and to condemn the left-liberal traffic light coalition’s escalation of the conflict through its supply of increasingly deadly weapons to Ukraine. Meanwhile, police officers present at the demonstration, numbering around 1,400, estimated approximately 13,000 were in attendance.
With the demonstration, Wagenknecht and Schwarz sought to underpin demands made in their Manifesto for Peace, launched some two weeks ago where they urged Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to “stop the escalation in arms deliveries.” So far, 650,000 people, including prominent figures, have signed the petition.
While speaking to the crowd of demonstrators, Wagenknect argued that the Manifesto for Peace had brought about “genuine hysteria” across Germany, and spoke of “hysterical bellowing” in “parts of politics and the press.” The Die Linke politician argued:
The hysterical yelling at us as ‘friends of Putin’ and ‘right-wing’ only shows that they are afraid of us … It annoys me at what level we are discussing in Germany. Since when is peace wrong? Some seem to have lost their political compass.
“They’re really afraid of us. They’re afraid of a new peace movement. It’s about ending the terrible suffering and the death of Ukrainians. It’s about making Russia an offer of negotiations, instead of an endless war of attrition being supplied with ever more weapons,” Wagenknecht emphasized.
Prominent figures from Germany’s Right were also present at the event. The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) posted a photo of Jörg Urban, the chairman of the party in Saxony, to Twitter alongside the symbol of the dove of peace, stating, “a year after the start of the war we finally need serious efforts towards peace negotiations instead of more escalation!”
The AfD added that it was “alarming that people who work for peace are now being discredited and called traitors.”
As if to prove the point, Finance Minister Christian Linder (FDP) condemned the protest, arguing “those who don’t stand at Ukraine’s side are standing on the false side of history.”