On Saturday afternoon, thousands of people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to demand peace negotiations with Russia in the Ukraine war. The rally for Peace was called by left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht and women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer, who had previously published a “Manifesto for Peace” two weeks ago. The police reported at least 10,000 participants, while organizers claimed there were around 50,000. The rally was held under the motto “Rebellion for Peace.”
The police had planned to be on duty with 1,400 officers due to other demonstrations in Mitte related to the war. They were supported by colleagues from Saxony-Anhalt. Despite the large number of participants, the rally remained peaceful. The police reported only minor fisticuffs and a verbal altercation between left-wing counter-demonstrators and the publisher of the “Compact Magazine,” which is classified by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a proven right-wing extremist effort.
On the website for the “Rebellion for Peace” rally, participants were called on to refrain from flying party and national flags. The organizers emphasized that “far-right flags, emblems and symbols have no place at our rally.”
The “Manifesto for Peace” by Wagenknecht and Schwarzer had called on German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to “stop the escalation in arms deliveries” and demanded a ceasefire and peace negotiations with Russia. However, Scholz, Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens), and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FPD) publicly stated that they did not share this conviction. According to Scholz, “the Russian President currently only accepts one form of negotiations, namely that someone capitulates unconditionally and he implements all his goals.”
Despite the lack of support from some politicians, more than 640,000 people had declared their approval of the “Manifesto” on the internet by Saturday afternoon. Wagenknecht and Schwarzer’s call for peace negotiations with Russia has sparked heated discussions and has been both praised and criticized by the public.