In Cologne, several hundred people demonstrated for and against abortion. In the afternoon, counter-demonstrators blocked the “March for Life” of the Federal Association for Life Rights (BVL), which was supposed to march through the city center after an opening rally at the Heumarkt, as a police spokesman said.

The police also used batons during the blockade, the spokesman said. Accordingly, officials tried to separate blockade participants. They were beaten and kicked by people who in turn hid behind a large banner. When the police tried to take the banner, demonstrators who were holding it were hit on the hands, the spokesman said.

Counter-demonstrations with around 3,000 people registered

According to police, 1,000 participants were registered for the “march”. At the same time, several counter-demonstrations were planned, for which the organizers had registered around 3,000 people in advance. According to a dpa reporter, the opening demonstrations at midday on the Heumarkt remained peaceful, with several hundred participants each. The police initially did not provide any information about the number of participants.

The BVL, an association of mostly Christian organizations, says it is committed to protecting every person “from conception to natural death.” The demonstration is supported by the German Bishops’ Conference.

A “March for Life” also took place in Berlin with hundreds of participants. While this takes place annually in the capital, it was the first time in Cologne.