"March for Life" in Berlin: Not as peaceful as wanted

The anti-choice movement is emphatically peace-loving. But this year, too, the Holocaust was played down during the “March for Life”.

Participants in the

"March for Life", 2021 Photo: Paul Zinken/dpa

BERLIN taz | On Saturday, people from all over Germany demonstrated at the "March for Life" in Berlin. According to the epd news agency, 1,000 people attended the rally, and the taz counted 3,150 participants in the demonstration. 9,000 demonstrators were registered. The counter-protest was remarkable. Despite the small number of demonstrators, it repeatedly managed to disrupt the anti-choice movement's event.

The "March for Life" took place for the 18th time and campaigns against abortion and assisted suicide. Again and again it is emphasized how "peaceful" it is, while rights are tolerated on the "March for Life". This year, a demonstrator wearing a t-shirt that reads “Stop Babycaust” is walking along. Someone else is wearing pants that say "the world government." Junge Freiheit writes about the "March for Life" that it is "more important than ever".

The chairwoman of the Federal Association for the Right to Life, Alexandra Linder, opened the rally at 1 p.m. on the Square of March 18 at the Brandenburg Gate. "If it weren't for us, some laws wouldn't exist. Ads for abortion are now legal. It doesn't make a difference," she says. “Our demand: nationwide help instead of nationwide abortion.” She fails to mention that Paragraph 218 prohibits abortions in Germany.

Later, the CDU MP Hubert Hüppe, the Catholic Archbishop of Berlin Heiner Koch, the Bishop of Regensburg Rudolf Voderholzer and the midwife Sarah Göbel, who is convinced that one only has to recognize “the plight of women”, then it would become “ 99 percent of the cases the woman decides against an abortion”. Even an abortion after rape is not a problem for her: "I saw a woman who was raped, she had a home birth, that was a healing for her. After she was born, she was a completely different person." Göbel says: "For me, that's feminism. That the woman becomes strong, not weakened.” The crowd applauds, whistles of counter-protest can be heard from the Tiergarten.

On the other side of the Brandenburg Gate, the stage of the counter-protest, it will be from an hour earlier dr Mandy Mangler emphasizes: “As a gynecologist, I will be criminalized if I perform an abortion. The woman too. It doesn't work," she says. "Women's bodies don't belong to us, they are self-determined. We want my body, my choice!” Mandy Mangler speaks as part of the counter-protest from the alliance for sexual self-determination. At 12 o'clock around 200 people gathered here on Pariser Platz, including Omas gegen Rechts, the Greens and the German Federation of Trade Unions.

Another counter-protest, the queer-feminist alliance "What the Fuck", also passed here at half past eleven with 200 people - the alliance itself speaks of 500 participants on Instagram. They also manage to disrupt the “March for Life” in creative ways: for example at 3 p.m. in a café on Friedrichstrasse. Here they sit in small groups and with drunk coffee cups at tables, under the mask whistles that disturb the silence of the "March of Life". Before that, at around half past one, two Pro Choice activists managed to disrupt the “minute of silent remembrance, also for the unborn”. While participants close their eyes, they shout: "No God, no state, no patriarchy."

A journalist is said to have been attacked

There is also a drum group on Friedrichstrasse, disrupting the anti-choice movement: they sing “My body, my choice” to the drums and “fundamentalism, get out of your head.” The anti-choice movement is deliberately peaceful – a chant , which can be heard at the beginning of the demonstration "do no harm" - but the participants are asked to be quiet before the demonstration.

Jörg Reichel, Managing Director of the German Union of Journalists from Verdi Berlin-Brandenburg, reports on Twitter as at 2:13 p.m a journalist is said to have been attacked by a participant of the "March of Life".. He is said to have struck a blow at a camera.

Individuals are also disturbed by the "March for Life", for example an elderly person at Pariser Platz approaches the demonstration, raises his middle fingers and shouts "assholes", followed by a somewhat sheepish "excuse me" in the direction of the police.

The self-proclaimed “lifeguards” repeatedly emphasize how important inclusion is to them. How much this is internalized by the participants of the "March for Life" is evident right at the beginning of the demonstration, when a man from the Hotel Adlon calls "Motherfuckers" from the balcony, a demonstrator replies: "Behave yourself , did your mother teach you to talk like that?” He then insults the hotel visitor in an anti-disabled manner.

Meanwhile, the police keep an eye on the queer-feminist counter-protest: A police officer says to his colleagues just outside the Hotel Adlon: "There's the troublemaker, you should prevent someone from breaking through," and points to Pariser Platz, where queer-feminist activists : inside are gathered for counter-protest. There is a video on Twitter that Painful grips by the police towards activists on Leipziger Straße.

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