German peace activists have once again used Easter Saturday to demonstrate their desire for peace with a series of marches across the country. Turnout was reported to be have been good, despite poor weather.
In towns across Germany on Saturday, demonstrators took part in marches against war, violence and atomic weapons.
Traditional Easter marches took place in some 75 towns and cities, calling for peace and social justice.
Despite less-than-perfect weather, participant numbers were roughly equivalent to those in previous years, according to the Bonn-based "Network Peace Cooperative," one of the groups that organized the marches.
Outside the US embassy in Berlin, demonstrators carried a 660-meter-long (720 yard) banner calling for an end to military activities and the end of the death penalty. In Berlin, some 1,000 people were reported to have rallied, with about 400 taking part in Munich.
Advice to politicians
Network Peace Cooperative head Manfred Stenner said that peace groups had made clear that the issue of peace was not one that should be entrusted exclusively to governments and politicians in general.
Politicians, he said, would be "well-advised to show a substantial interest in the criticism and demands that come from below."
The western city of Duisburg saw one of the first marches over Easter weekend on Saturday morning with 300 to 400 participants showing up, according to organizers. The march took place under the motto: "Yes to the civil resolution of future problems - No to war, atomic weapons and interior militarization - No to NATO."
Willi Hoffmeister, a long-time peace march organizer and participant, said he was "very happy" with the turnout, saying more people took part than in previous years.
Easter marches have been organized in Germany, initially in what was then West Germany, since 1960.
rc/tm (AFP, dpa, KNA)