A fairly unknown tradition takes place in Germany every Easter weekend in which thousands of people in cities all across the country take to the streets to march in the name of global peace.
Known as the “Easter Peace Marches”, activists come out to promote peace, urging for an end to violence, nuclear weapons, involvement in foreign wars, and whatever other current societal issues are going on, such as LGBT rights.
These peace marches got their start in 1960 when 1,200 people gathered at the north German Bergen-Hohne military training region to protest atomic weapons. By the mid-sixties, hundreds of thousands of peaceful protestors around Germany came out to protest issues centering around the East-West divide.
Not all protests follow the same structure as some marchers have started their protests on Good Friday and go through Easter Monday. Others just settle on one day during the holiday weekend. Not every protests across the country centers on the same topic or issue either.
Many protests that will be taking place this Easter will have a focus on the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, a call to end the violence in Mali and Syria, and the withdrawal of NATO troops in Afghanistan. With a motto of “War Solves No Problems: Down With the Weapons – 2014 and 1914”, protesters are promoting the idea of collaboration over conflict. There is no doubting that the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia will be fresh on the minds of most protesters as well this weekend.
Photo: Celeste Hutchins