Easter protests over Iraq and Afghan wars

Easter protests over Iraq and Afghan wars
Protests in Munich. Photo: DPA
Hundreds of peace activists took the streets of major German cities on Saturday in traditional Easter marches. This year, the focus was on Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some 70 events are taking place between Good Friday and Easter Monday, with the main marches on Saturday and Monday.

At events in Hanover, Munich, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Munich, peace activists marked the fifth anniversary this week of the US-led war in Iraq.

But at many of the marches, the activists could only be counted in dozens, rather than the thousands seen in years past.

Matthias Dembinski of the Foundation for Peace and Conflict Research in Frankfurt, acknowledged that the numbers of those committed to the peace movement in Germany were dwindling.

“War and peace are still urgent issues,” Dembinski told national public radio, Deutschlandfunk, adding that the aim was to maintain awareness among peace activists. He said that there was no key issue at the moment to motivate the average citizen.

Some experts attribute the waning of the peace movement to Germany’s involvement in the Kosovo conflict in the late 1990s, as this marked the first time that the government sent troops into combat since World War II.

Peace marches began in Germany in 1960. They drew hundreds of thousands in 1968 at the height of the Vietnam War, and again in 1983 when medium-range nuclear missiles were about to be stationed in Western Europe.