Mass protests against weapons giant Rheinmetall

Rheinmetall, the largest weapons manufacturer in Germany who modernized the Turkish state’s tanks, was protested in mass demonstrations in two cities.

May 8 is Victory in Europe Day, and marks the end of World War II and the official defeat of Hitler’s fascism. Many NGOs and anti-armament groups come together to celebrate the day in Germany, and this year there were protests against Rheinmetall, the biggest supporter of the Turkish state in its Afrin invasion.

One protest was held during the meeting Rheinmetall had with its shareholders in the Maritim Hotel in Berlin. Protesters held a banner that read, “Get German tanks out of Kurdistan” and condemned the German state’s cooperation with the Erdoğan regime. A large group of protesters marched to the Maritim Hotel with YPG/YPJ flags.

Banners like “Rheinmetall get out of Rojava” and “Rheinmetall kills, Germany kills along” were also carried in the protest, and Die Linke offered full support. Die Linke Co-chairs Katja Kipping and Bernd Riexinger as well as other MPs were present in the demonstration where the Turkish state’s attack against Afrin was carried out with German-made Leopard tanks.

Ethecon Foundation official Anabel Schnura said, “Rheinmetall is the biggest weapons manufacturer in Germany. This is where the war starts.”

A similar protest was held in front of the Rheinmetall factory in Unterlüss, Lower Saxony. A group of SIGMAR member activists closed off the road leading to the factory yesterday morning with barricades, and opened a banner that read: “Block Rheinmetall, Solidarity with Afrin”

The civil disobedience lasted until noon and blocked vehicles from entering the factory. The activists condemned Rheinmetall’s collaboration with the Turkish state, and were briefly detained by the police afterwards.

Protests against Rheinmetall will continue in the coming days. Kurds as well as German people support the mass protests which will turn into a long march from May 21 to June 2 against weapons trading. The march is planned to start from Oberndof and continue until Berlin.