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Germany’s Easter marchers demand end to fighting in Ukraine and Gaza

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People across Germany on Saturday joined the country’s traditional Easter marches that emerged from last century’s peace movement, with marchers this year calling for an end to fighting in Ukraine and the Gaza Strip.

The marches against nuclear weapons and in favour of peace have been held over Easter for more than 60 years. The main day of action is Saturday, with around 70 events scheduled to take place across the country.

In Berlin, some 3,500 people joined this year’s Easter March, according to police estimates.

More than 1,000 marched for peace in the northern city of Bremen, while several hundred joined demonstrations in Cologne, Duisburg, Saarbrücken, Leipzig and Kassel.

Marchers called for negotiations and diplomatic solutions to the Ukraine war, started by Russia on February 24, 2022, and fighting in Gaza, as well as an end to weapons deliveries for Kiev and Israel.

Israel launched a military operation in the Palestinian coastal area following the October 7 massacres led by the Palestinian extremist organization Hamas.

Participants in Berlin carried placards with slogans like “Friendship with Russia – Viva Palestine,” and “Genocide in Gaza,” referring to the high number of civilian deaths caused by Israel’s military incursion.

Others criticized the government in Berlin and people waved Russian and Palestinian flags.

The Easter Marches emerged from last century’s pan-European peace movement calling for nuclear disarmament and protesting the arms race, with the first Easter march held in Britain in 1958.

This year, marchers in Germany are also demanding a more fundamental rejection of the logic of war and militarization.

Pro-Palestinian activists take part in a demonstration, as part of an Easter march with the slogan "Leipzig wants peace". Sebastian Willnow/dpa

Pro-Palestinian activists take part in a demonstration, as part of an Easter march with the slogan “Leipzig wants peace”. Sebastian Willnow/dpa

People take part in the traditional Easter march under the motto "Warlike - Never Again" with signs reading "The 180 Degree Greens, Plowshares to Tanks", "Warmongers to the Front". Fabian Sommer/dpa

People take part in the traditional Easter march under the motto “Warlike – Never Again” with signs reading “The 180 Degree Greens, Plowshares to Tanks”, “Warmongers to the Front”. Fabian Sommer/dpa

People gather on Roncalliplatz for the Easter march under the slogan "For a civil turnaround - end wars, stop rearmament!". Christian Knieps/dpa

People gather on Roncalliplatz for the Easter march under the slogan “For a civil turnaround – end wars, stop rearmament!”. Christian Knieps/dpa

Sabine Rosenbrock (L) holds a placard at Roncalliplatz during the Easter march under the motto "For a civil turnaround - end wars, stop rearmament!". Christian Knieps/dpa

Sabine Rosenbrock (L) holds a placard at Roncalliplatz during the Easter march under the motto “For a civil turnaround – end wars, stop rearmament!”. Christian Knieps/dpa

People holding Palestinian flags and flags with doves of peace gather on Roncalliplatz for the Easter march under the motto "For a civil turnaround - end wars, stop rearmament!". Christian Knieps/dpa

People holding Palestinian flags and flags with doves of peace gather on Roncalliplatz for the Easter march under the motto “For a civil turnaround – end wars, stop rearmament!”. Christian Knieps/dpa

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