Friday's oath was the first in Stuttgart in 11 yearsImage: AP
July 30, 2010
Police have dispersed one of a dozen anti-military protests in as army recruits take their oath in Stuttgart for the first time in 11 years. Around 1,000 police are on the scene to ensure the safety of 650 new soldiers.
Police in the southwestern German city of Stuttgart on Friday dispersed a sit-down protest against the ceremonial pledge of allegiance taken by new German army, or Bundeswehr, recruits.
Just under 50 protesters sat down in front of the St. Eberhard Cathedral at midday but were not blocking the entrance to the church service for some 300 recruits and their families. Police defended their dispersal of the group, explaining that another location had been designated for the demonstration.
Authorities had initially issued permits to 13 anti-military protest groups for Friday but later revoked two of these. About 1,000 police officers were dispatched to ensure the safety of a total of 650 recruits from southern Germany.
The need for security at Friday's event was already stressed last Sunday morning when 15 demonstrators occupied the cathedral in protest against the mass. Stuttgart's dean called the police to remove the protestors after telling them that the church was not the place for political action.
The recruits took their oaths at Stuttgart's New Palace in what was the first public pledge of allegiance for Bundeswehr soldiers in the city in 11 years.