March 21, 2023

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Berlin’s protest against Ukraine arming Russia draws thousands

BERLIN (Reuters) – A demonstration against the supply of arms to Ukraine for war with Russia drew 10,000 people on Saturday, drawing criticism from top German government officials and a heavy police presence to maintain order.

The protest, organized by a prominent left-wing German politician, comes a day after the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which won promises of more weapons from Western allies, new sanctions against Russia and shows of support for Kiev around the world. .

In their statements, protest organizers said: “We call on the German chancellor to de-escalate arms shipments. Now! … because every day up to 1,000 more lives are lost – and it brings us closer to a third world war.” website.

The Uprising for Peace was organized in part by Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the German left-wing Die Linke party.

Germany, along with the United States, has been one of the largest arms suppliers to Ukraine.

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One of the signs carried by one of the demonstrators read, “Negotiate, do not escalate,” while a sign in the crowd read, “It is not our war.”

A police spokesman said 10,000 people had gathered around the symbolic Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin.

The police mobilized 1,400 officials to maintain the peace and imposed bans on military uniforms, Russian and Soviet flags, Russian military songs, and oath symbols.

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The police spokesman said there was no indication of right-wing groups attending and that the protest, which German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said he “clearly opposes”, was peaceful.

“Whoever is not on the side of Ukraine is on the wrong side of history,” Lindner said on Twitter.

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