(LifeSiteNews) — Pro-lifers in Germany made history over the weekend when thousands attended two different marches for the unborn that took place on the same day.
On Saturday, September 16, German pro-lifers gathered in both Berlin and Cologne, participating in the first event of its kind in the history of the nation’s March for Life. Both marches were organized by a national pro-life group, Bundesverband Lebensrecht, although the Cologne march was introduced by a local pro-lifer and welcomed by the BVL, which incorporated the second march.
Georg Dietlein, who volunteered during the event in Cologne to be the group’s contact with police, told LifeSiteNews that there were roughly 2,800 pro-lifers present who were “totally peaceful.”
“But there were also counter demonstrators who repeatedly obstructed our march,” Dietlein continued. “We could only walk 250 meters, were blocked, waited there 2 hours and then had to go back.”
He noted that “there were far too few police officers on duty,” citing that as the reason “why we didn’t get anywhere.” Law enforcement officers who were present “were totally overwhelmed.”
Dietlein – who also spoke to police before the event and mentioned the anticipated presence of abortion activists – told LifeSiteNews via email that “it was interesting to see how peaceful, cheerful and positive our demonstrators were and how aggressive and hateful the counter demonstrators.” He noted his belief “that some of them have personal problems with the issue behind their protest.”
Although the length of the march was inhibited by abortion activists, Dietlein said that “it was not so decisive whether we could only walk about 300 meters through Cologne this year or, as planned, several kilometers” since “the goal of the march is to have an effect on the public.”
“I think the public received the signal we wanted to send. That there was so much protest rather inspires us to make the march in Cologne every year from now on.”
Dietlein explained that “pro-life issues are not particularly present in the German public because many see them as ‘annoying’ issues.” However, he added, “the March for Life wants to bring this topic back into the public focus.”
“It is important that we preserve a positive culture of life, otherwise, everything will go off the rails.”
He also emphasized the crucial importance of “concrete counseling and support for pregnant women,” which he said “is even more important than the march.” While the peaceful public demonstration assists in bringing the abortion issue into the spotlight, many who attended the march in Cologne “complained to the police” about the blockades which prevented them from walking as far as originally planned.
“We are in discussion with the police so that next year there will be more forces ready to protect us and to keep the route of the march free of blockades,” Dietlein said.
The march in Berlin gathered almost 4,000 pro-lifers and did not experience the same intense counter demonstrations as the event in Cologne.
Abortion is widely available in Germany up to 12 weeks’ gestation for women who still want an abortion at least three days after going through mandatory counseling. Exceptions are allowed after 12 weeks for a woman’s “physical or mental health.”
Some restrictions have lessened over time, such as the total ban on abortionists advertising their killing “services,” which was lifted on June 24, 2022, the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade and the so-called “right” to abortion across the nation.