In Berlin, the demonstrators gathered on Alexanderplatz in the city center and headed towards the Brandenburg Gate. The motto of the demonstration, called for by a broad alliance of trade unions, churches, environmental protection initiatives and peace groups, is: “Stop the war. Peace and solidarity for the people of Ukraine.”
Young and old were among the demonstrators, and many families with children also took part. Some had balloons in blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine. Others carried banners with inscriptions such as “Stop War”, “Peace”, “Where is the vaccination against war” and insults against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The mood was peaceful, most of the participants wore corona protective masks.
A specific number of participants has not yet been determined. The organizers had registered around 100,000 participants. According to initial estimates, around 60,000 people took part. On February 27, three days after the start of the war, more than 100,000 people demonstrated in Berlin.
According to initial estimates, around 35,000 people gathered in the Baden-Württemberg state capital of Stuttgart for a peace demonstration against Russia’s war in Ukraine. In Hamburg, the anti-war demonstration began with a minute’s silence and the Ukrainian national anthem. Around 10,000 participants in the Hanseatic city called for an immediate end to the Russian war of aggression, the withdrawal of Russian troops and the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
According to police estimates, around 12,000 people took part in a similar protest in Frankfurt am Main. At the opening rally on Opernplatz, the mayor of the Hessian city, Peter Feldmann (SPD), denounced the attacks by Russian soldiers on escape corridors, residential buildings and maternity clinics as “war crimes”. The courage and resilience of the Ukrainians, but also the courage of Russian demonstrators to rebel against the war, commands “great respect” from him. Around 8,000 people gathered in Leipzig for the protests.
In a joint appeal, the demonstrators in the five major German cities demanded that Russian President Putin immediately stop all attacks, withdraw from Ukraine and restore its territorial integrity. The goal is “peace negotiations that will result in a nuclear-weapon-free Europe, common security, peace and disarmament, including Ukraine and Russia.”
“Solidarity is the order of the day, that’s what we as unions stand for,” said Verdi chairman Frank Werneke. The service union supports the alliance “Stop the war.” The Putin regime bears responsibility for the war, the violence and the immeasurable human suffering. There’s no justification for that,” warned Werneke.
Demonstrations are also planned in other European cities. Tens of thousands of people are expected to protest against the ongoing war in Warsaw, London and Madrid this Sunday.
qu/kle (dpa, afp, ap, epd)