Forwarded from Einde (Berlin report)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Feb 16 06:42:00 MST 2003

Alex LoCascio wrote:
I've just arrived back from the magnificent demonstration in Berlin. It
was just overwhelming, despite the absolutely shitty weather conditions
at the beginning (a cross between drizzle and snow). There were so many
people there that the main demonstration from the square in front of the
City Hall (das Rote Rathaus) started early quite spontaneously due to
the pressure of people.

The first part couldn't really be called a march - it was more of a
shuffle until we got past the bottleneck created by the bridges over the
river. But even then Unter den Linden, the main street in Berlin was
jampacked across the eight lanes the wide central reservation and the
two wide footpaths.

When I got over the bridge the front of the march had already reached
the stage for the rally point, the Siegessäule, about 2 miles away where
it linked up with the other feeder march from Breitscheidplatz. At this
point the mass of people stretched the whole length of the two routes -
about 5 miles.

The demonstration was attended by 3 government ministers (2 Greens and 1
SPD) - at least those were the ones I personally saw - despite
Chancellor Schröder's instructions that ministers shouldn't attend.

There wasn't much discussion about the Schröder-Chirac-Putin plan -
probably most participants have some illusions in it. It was more an
elemental expression of rejection of this war and all it stands for.
There were lots of imaginative slogans on posters and stickers. I
particularly liked a poster carried by a member of group called
Americans Against the War which said "A village in Texas has lost its
idiot" and a sticker from the Protestant Student Movement reading "Thou
shalt not covet thy neighbour's oilfield".

I didn't pay much attention to the final rally as I was busy dishing out
leaflets and selling papers - sales were reasonable but not
overwhelming, but we encountered absolutely no hostility. The placards
we had prepared sold - yes "sold" (we sold them for a contribution to
cover teh costs of producing them - 2 euros - about $2) - like hotcakes.
It was incredible. And very few people covered the name of the
organisation or tore it off, as sometimes happens.

The next steps are a revival of the Monday demonstrations in the former
GDR - this time against war and not against the Stalinist regime - and
the spread of this tradition to the former West Germany. On Monday there
will be demonstrations in over 50 towns and cities that I know of in
both Eqast and West.

Another important development is the development of a mass civil
resistance movement which is preparing to blockade US bases, starting
with the main aribase in Frankfurt next weekend.

I'll hvae to leave it at that. My head is still buzzing with impressions
and I've been up for over 20 hours after a very short night's sleep.

Einde O'Callaghan

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