Report on Munich demonstration at Wehrkunde conference attended by Donald Rumsfeld

3 February 2001

from: Regina Hagen

On Saturday, February 3, a rally was held to protest against the Wehrkunde conference (one possible translation of Wehrkunde is "education in military affairs") that was held yesterday and today in Munich. This annual conference is usually attended by high-ranking politicians and militaries from European countries, NATO, and "allies and friends". The protest was aimed against the conference in general and against the attendance of US Minister of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and his NMD and space weaponization plans in particular.

Although a long list of local and national groups supported the protests, it was almost exclusively local people joining the protests. (The Munich American Peace Committee was also there with several people.) The Munich groups had done a good job in mobilizing in the peace community, but weather conditions were very discouraging. I had the impression I was the only non-local person who'd traveled to Munich to participate in the protest.

The rally was held in front of the hotel, at the corner of a little park in the middle of the street. About 50 people turned up. Two speeches concentrated on the purpose of the conference and on the role NATO had played in the Yugoslavia war. My speech concentrated on Mr. Rumsfeld and the result of the two "Rumsfeld commissions" and what that meant for the National Missile Defense and further-reaching space weaponization plans. A member of WILPF talked about nuclear weapons. Two speeches I missed because people wanted to hear more about the space stuff. We stayed there for approx. 1 1/2 hours.

Quite a few TV teams came by to film, but none of them were willing to take interviews. Not a single radio or print media journalist came by to talk to us. Friends at home listened to and watched news all day. They said, that the conference was well covered, so were the conflicting opinions of Rumsfeld and most of the European heads of state and foreign ministers. But not a word about the protests...

But I am sure the German governments understood the message: there are citizens out there who press them hard to oppose the US NMD and space weaponizations plans.

The Munich protesters appreciated my coming and were very interested to hear about the space militarization. They urged me to write down what I'd said at the rally, which I did today. The German text is here and in English here.

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