Karlplatz is the center of Munich’s shopping district and on Saturday it is usually the busiest place in the Bavarian capital. On this weekend it became the epicenter of protest activity, as police agents surrounded the square where hundreds of anti-war activists rallied against the Munich Security Conference.
You can see all kinds of flags at the Anti-Siko (anti-Security Conference) protest – from red ones with a hammer and sickle to rainbow flags and green environmentalist banners. But despite differences in political platforms, all these activists took to the streets to demand peace pic.twitter.com/2VOI4Iupjh— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) February 15, 2020
Even though the main idea behind the MSC is said to be the organization of discussions around regional and global security, it is, according to protesters, a meeting of "warmongers"; NATO generals and politicians who wage endless war on each other.
Oleg Muzyka – a Ukrainian politician living in exile in Germany told Sputnik that he is concerned with current situation in Donbass, where, he claims, local citizens continue to die at the hands of the nation's military. Muzyka is hoping that Kiev authorities and president Vladimir Zelensky will not follow in the footsteps of former leader Petro Poroshenko to try to push Ukraine into NATO.
“Today, when President Zelensky is here at the conference, we are hoping to hear from him that Ukraine will remain non-affiliated with any blocs. Rallies like this one help us deliver the message to the elites, saying that Ukraine plus NATO means a step towards World War III”.
A group of Americans living in Germany are also among the protesters, penning an open letter to members of the US delegation to the MSC, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, pointing to the danger of nuclear confrontation with Russia, China and North Korea, and demanding that the Trump administration stop participating in conventional and covert war.
“There are probably more so-called “top brass generals” at the conference, than there are demonstrators today. That’s the bloated military budget” – says Richard Forward from the Munich American Peace Committee who signed the letter – “In the beginning there were 30 people at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. This year there are 2 to 4 thousand people.”
John Culp is an American living in Germany. He's been attending anti-MSC protests annually for over 30 years. John brought a giant dragon figure to Saturday’s rally, which, in his words, represents what war does to people – “it eats everything up”. pic.twitter.com/Fzduo4kFd9— Denis Bolotsky (@BolotskySputnik) February 15, 2020
The Munich Security Conference is an annual meeting of world leaders, diplomats and high-level military commanders from around the world.
The Bavarian capital has hosted the event since 1963. This year’s MSC is being held from the 14th to the 16th of February.