After a large demonstration in support of Ukraine on Friday evening in Berlin, opponents of further arms deliveries want to take to the streets today. The demonstration on the first anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine was initiated by left-wing politician Sahra Wagenknecht and prominent women’s rights activist Alice Schwarzer.

They demand negotiations with Russia. The title of the demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate is: “Peace in Ukraine”. 10,000 participants are registered with the police. The police will be deployed with significantly more forces than yesterday because the demonstrators come from different political camps, from far right to far left, and conflicts are feared.

Criticism from the Federal Minister of Economics

Two weeks ago, Schwarzer and Wagenknecht published a “Manifesto for Peace” in which they warned against an escalation of the Ukraine war and called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) to “stop the escalation in arms deliveries”. More than 620,000 people gave their consent online. “Negotiating means making compromises on both sides. With the aim of preventing hundreds of thousands more deaths and worse,” the manifesto said.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) criticized the demonstration. “Everyone who is in their right mind wants peace,” he said last night in an ARD “Focal Point”. Wagenknecht and the people who followed her wanted to sell something as peace that an “imperialist dictator” was imposing on Europe. If that goes through, it would be an invitation to Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade the next few countries.

Left-wing party colleagues also express concerns

Leading politicians from the SPD and the left also distanced themselves. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich told the “Rheinische Post”: “Ms. Wagenknecht’s point of view is not mine.” From his point of view, it would have been good if the call had been more clearly demarcated from radical tendencies. However, Mützenich also said that one had to recognize that parts of the population wanted an even stronger focus on peace talks.

Left party leader Janine Wissler also criticized the call for the event. She worries about how to deal with the mobilization in right-wing circles. “The call has a blank there,” Wissler told the Funke newspapers.

Schwarzer: Well on the way to becoming a citizens’ movement

Alice Schwarzer contradicted the allegations. “Of course we will take action against any kind of right-wing extremist propaganda on the square,” assured the women’s rights activist of the German Press Agency. Both Wagenknecht and she stand for the opposite of right-wing politics. Referring to the many signatories to the manifesto, she said: “We are well on the way to becoming a real citizens’ movement.”

She is amazed that Chancellor Scholz does not seem to take the concerns of so many people seriously. “It’s about the survival of mankind,” said Schwarzer. “UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said we went into the world war with open eyes.”

Schwarzer also denied that she was generally against arms sales to Ukraine. However, these would have to be accompanied by diplomatic efforts. It is absolutely not true that she and Wagenknecht wanted to accept a capitulation from the Ukraine. “But after a year of death and destruction, I also ask: What is stopping us from starting negotiations now instead of waiting three years?”

Giffey and Ukrainian ambassador practice solidarity

More than 10,000 people demonstrated against the war in Berlin last night and demanded support from Ukraine. The Brandenburg Gate was illuminated in blue and yellow in the evening. At a rally, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) and the Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev called for solidarity with Ukraine. They were accompanied on stage by many ambassadors from other European countries.

Many demonstrators waved blue and yellow Ukrainian flags. They kept shouting “Free Ukraine” and “Stop the war”. In front of the Russian embassy near the Brandenburg Gate, people chanted: “Russia is a terrorist state”.

Ambassador Makeiev thanked the Germans for their “fantastic solidarity”. A million Ukrainians have found protection and Germany has supplied weapons. “German weapons save lives. German weapons save Ukrainians,” he shouted. Yesterday afternoon Makeiev inspected a destroyed tank parked in front of the Russian embassy. About the opponents of further arms deliveries, Makeiev said: “Peace must be fought for.”