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BERLIN, 25 Feb. (DPA/EP) –
Some 10,000 people, according to the Police; 50,000, according to the organization, have participated this Saturday in a demonstration in favor of peace in Ukraine in the German capital, Berlin.
The protest has brought together both far-left and far-right protesters in the Brandenburg Gate area, although the original call is from the leader of the Left Party Sahra Wagenknecht and the women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer, who They have published a Manifesto for Peace.
In his speech, Wagenknecht reiterated the need for arms supplies to Ukraine to cease and for negotiations to take place. It is about “putting an end to the terrible suffering and death in Ukraine” and making Russia a bargain offer “instead of ammunition for an endless war of attrition with more and more new weapons”, he has argued.
The Police have deployed some 1,400 agents for fear of clashes. A police spokesman has reported that there have been small scuffles on the sidelines of the act.
In addition, a group of left-wing counter-demonstrators clashed vociferously with Juergen Elsaesser, the editor of ‘Compact’ magazine, a publication that Germany’s internal secret service considers to be far-right.
In their Manifesto for Peace, the two activists call on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to “stop the escalation of arms deliveries” and “lead a strong alliance for a ceasefire and peace negotiations.” However, they have received criticism for falling into “naivety” and playing the game of the extreme right due to the coincidences in the speech.
Schwarzer and Wagenknecht published their manifesto 15 days ago. “Negotiating means reaching compromises, on both sides. With the aim of avoiding hundreds of thousands more deaths and worse,” the text states.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck of the Greens has criticized the demonstration. “Everyone in their right mind wants peace,” the also Minister of Economy and Climate Protection declared on a television program on Friday night.
Wagenknecht and those who follow her want to sell as peace something that an “imperialist dictator” imposes on Europe, Habeck said. If that happens, it would be an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade more countries, he concluded.
Scholz joined the critics, saying that it is necessary to understand “that the Russian president currently only accepts one form of negotiation, namely that someone unconditionally capitulates and he carries out all his goals.”
The leader of the Left party, Janine Wissler, also criticized the call for the act and said she was concerned about the way in which far-right circles are approaching the mobilization. “There is a blank space in the call,” Wissler told the Grupo Funke newspapers.
Alice Schwarzer refuted the accusations: “Of course we will fight against any kind of far-right propaganda in the square,” the feminist leader told DPA. She and Wagenknecht both advocate the opposite of right-wing politics, she added.
As for the many signatories to the manifesto, she said she was surprised that Scholz did not take so many people’s concerns seriously. “This is about the survival of humanity,” Schwarzer said.
He also denied that he was generally against arms supplies to Ukraine, but these policies would have to be accompanied by diplomatic efforts, he said. It is untrue that she and Wagenknecht want Ukraine to surrender, she said, “but after a year of death and destruction, I also ask: what is stopping us from starting negotiations now instead of waiting another three years?”
On Friday night there was another call in which more than 10,000 people demonstrated in Berlin against the war and demanded support for Ukraine. The Brandenburg Gate was lit up in blue and yellow in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.