In traditional Easter peace marches in Germany, thousands of people demonstrated against military plans to establish a bombing range in the state of Brandenburg.
It was the 100th protest action against the so-called Bombodrom
More than 10,000 people on Sunday took part in the peace movement's march to protest the bombing range, which is due to be established near the town of Wittstock in northern Brandenburg, police said. The demonstrators carried posters that read "No bomb" and "He who practices the attack, plans a war of aggression."
In speeches and on posters, they called on Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung to drop the plans to establish the so-called the "Bombodrom." Organizers collected around 1,000 postcards protesting against the practice range that were to be sent to Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Dancing for peace
Critics of the plans have been trying to prevent the military from setting up the range for 14 years. The defense ministry intends to use the area for 1,700 practice flights per year. NATO partners are also expected to use the facility.
Numerous lawsuits are underway to stop the military's plans, which a German court put on hold until the legal issues are all resolved. Opponents fear the Bombodrom will be used for more than 10,000 flights, day and night, and at levels of less than 300 meters (328 yards).
The current nuclear dispute with Iran was also a topic in the protests. Speakers called on the western states to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
No Bombodrom, protesters demanded
Peace marches took place in numerous German cities and towns on Saturday and Sunday, but they attracted low numbers of demonstrators. In Munich, hundreds of people hit the streets under the slogan "No to war against Iran." Police put their numbers at 400, while organizers said 800 had taken part. Around 150 people demonstrated in Zwickau, in the state of Saxony, against cuts to the social welfare system. In Augsburg, a march through the inner city was cancelled on Saturday because fewer than 100 people showed up.
Further marches have been planned for numerous German cities, including Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Nuremberg, on Monday.
Easter marches have taken place in Germany since the 1960s. At the height of the peace movement hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated against nuclear arms.