Thousands of people gathered in Berlin over the weekend to protest against abortion and euthanasia laws during the ‘March for Life’, one of Germany’s largest rallies against the right to abortion.
Carrying crosses and balloons, protesters marched through central Berlin on Saturday for the 17th year in a row.
A banner read: “For a Europe without abortion or euthanasia”.
Bundesverband Lebensrecht (BVL), an association of 15 organizations behind the event, said around 4,500 protesters turned up for Saturday’s march. Police estimated the number of participants to be “between the low and middle of the four-digit range.” A thousand police officers were on duty that day.
Members of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) also participated in the march. The Roman Catholic group criticized the European Parliament for calling access to abortion a human right.
Counter-demonstrators demand women’s rights
A counter-demonstration demanding women’s rights took place around the Brandenburg Gate.
The Alliance for Sexual Self-Determination as well as a number of feminist movements have called for unrestricted abortion rights in Germany.
Police separated the two groups, adding that the protests remained peaceful.
A representative of the German Union of Journalists (DJU) tweeted about an attack on one of its members present at the protest, but police could not confirm the attack, the agency reported. German Press (DPA).
BVL President Alexandra Maria Linder said her pro-life movement has been able to “do a lot” in recent years. She said there was no majority in the Bundesrat (upper house of the German parliament) on Friday in favor of removing the country’s legal ban on advertising abortions.
Linder also called efforts in the United States to legally ban abortions from the sixth week of pregnancy “a big step forward.”
The march ended with an ecumenical service led by the Catholic Bishop of Görlitz, Wolfgang Ipolt, and the Serbian Orthodox priest of Berlin Veljko Gacic. During the service, Ipolt opposed the right to abortion claimed by the European Parliament, as well as assisted suicide.
mvb / sms (dpa, KNA, EPD)