Protest in Berlin over Ukraine’s arming against Russia draws thousands

BERLIN, Feb. 25 (Reuters) – A demonstration against Ukraine’s supply of weapons for war with Russia drew 10,000 people on Saturday, drawing criticism from top German officials and a large police presence to maintain order.

The protest, organized by a prominent left-wing German politician, comes a day after the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which promised more weapons from Western allies, new sanctions against Russia and messages of support for Kiev around the world. .

“We call on the German Chancellor to stop the escalation of arms shipments. Now!…Because every day lost costs up to 1,000 lives – and brings us closer to a third world war,” the organizers of the protest said on their website.

The “Uprising for Peace” was co-organized by Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the left-wing German party Die Linke.

Germany, along with the United States, is one of the largest arms suppliers to Ukraine.

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“Negotiate, don’t escalate,” read a sign held by a protester, while a banner in the crowd read, “Not our war.”

A police spokesman said 10,000 people gathered around the symbolic Brandenburg Gate in central Berlin.

Police mobilized 1,400 officials to keep the peace and enforce a ban on military uniforms, Russian and Soviet flags, Russian military songs and right-wing symbols.

The police spokesman said there were no signs of right-wing groups present and that the protest, which German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said was “clearly against”, was peaceful.

“If you don’t support Ukraine, you’re on the wrong side of history,” Lindner said on Twitter.

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