The Monday demonstrations for peace remain true to themselves: the audience is presented with conspiracy theories and media scolding.
Conspiracy theories under the sign of the peace dove: Monday demonstration in May. Photo: dpa
Werner Altnickel has the floor. He is to speak for 20 minutes about "geoengineering". With a lecture about "chemtrails" Altnickel tries to get the audience on his side, but only moderately.
In sweltering heat around the Neptunbrunnen fountain at Alexanderplatz, the demonstrators for peace gradually sit down or use the time to get drinks. "Chemtrails", i.e. contrails with which primarily the American government can allegedly control the weather and cause people pain, do not go down as desired. Altnickel gets applause anyway. Like actually everyone who speaks at the "first nationwide Monday demonstration" on Saturday.
For a few months now, people have been meeting in numerous cities for these "Monday demonstrations." In Berlin, demonstrators whose self-proclaimed main goal is peace now even gather four days a week for vigils to hold "open talks."
According to police, about 2,500 women and men with a wide variety of concerns came to Saturday’s nationwide action. The lowest common denominator is "peace" – or what they think it is. Posters with "Free Palestine" or the Palestinian flag are held up. On another sign someone has written: "Leave the fascist EU dictatorship" or "Dissolve the illegitimate warmongering FRG government".
Neither "right nor left
Hardly anyone addresses the audience from the stage with similarly concrete demands, not even later when the crowd moves to Potsdamer Platz. The publicist Jurgen Elsasser is announced as the keynote speaker at the Neptunbrunnen. He considers himself neither "right nor left", his main addressee being the people. And he also does not allow himself to be banned from "criticizing Zionism."
"What the Zionists are doing in Gaza is genocide," Elsasser shouts to a cheering crowd. "Mrs. Merkel must stop supporting the Zionist regime in Israel," he shouts. In addition to such anti-Israel tones, anti-Americanism, love of Russia and harsh media criticism dominate the speeches. One of them speaks of the "system press that is connected to the rest of the world like in the Third Reich", which are all "puppets of the Bild newspaper". Another describes Chancellor Angela Merkel as an "employee of Obama" and brings as an argument: "Mrs. Merkel, you look like shit".
Oliver Janich, editor-in-chief of Compact magazine, who obviously knows about the widespread criticism of the demos, welcomes all "anti-Semites, neo-Nazis and conspiracy theorists". He finds that actually all of them look quite normal. And he is right: young women handing out peace doves, families who have brought their children or students – they all cheer the speakers.
A policeman, asked about a counter-movement, laughs. "Who is against peace?" he says, astonished. Apparently, about 20 Antifa activists, who at least stood up to the sounds of the demo with Israel and USA flags. "Anti-German idiots," is the comment from the demo.
Again and again, passers-by, attracted by the music, stop curiously between the speeches. It was not until late Saturday evening that the police fully reopened the partially blocked traffic at Potsdamer Platz.