Germans march for world free of nuclear weapons
Thousands of people demonstrated against the foreign military presences in Iraq and Afghanistan on Saturday during traditional Easter peace marches held across Germany.
US President Barack Obama's call for a world free of nuclear arms was also a major theme of the rallies and protest marches held in bright sunshine at 28 towns and cities, dpa reported.
All told there are more than 70 different events being held by the German peace movement over the four-day Easter period, ending on Monday.
Among the venues of Saturday's protests were Berlin, Augsburg, Gelsenkirchen, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Leipzig, Munich and the US military base at Ramstein.
The demonstrations began on Friday in the industrial city of Dortmund and two other towns where close to 1,000 people took part.
"For the first time in many years we have the chance of a fresh start towards global disarmament and making peace more secure," said Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in a message to marchers.
He was referring to Obama's vision to rid the world of atomic weapons, revealed during a speech made by the US president in the Czech capital of Prague on April 5.
The Easter marches began in the 1960s, but interest in them has gradually waned since the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
In Berlin, the peace movement decided against an Easter march this year, calling instead a peace rally at one of the capital's main churches.
Tens of thousands of people took part in last year's marches. Organizers are hoping for a similar turnout this time.
The German marches drew 300,000 in 1968, when opposition to the Vietnam War was at its height, and 700,000 in 1983 when medium-ranged nuclear missiles were about to be stationed in Western Europe.