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German Police, Protesters Clash at Weapons Plant
By Staff, Agencies
German police have used pepper spray and batons to disperse anti-war protesters who were trying to block the entrance to a weapons factory in Kassel, arresting at least one.
The protest on Friday was held by activists affiliated with the Disarm Rheinmetall movement, which have been calling for protest rallies across the European country in efforts to halt the production and delivery of German-made weapons, including arms destined for the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Rheinmetall AG is a German automotive and weapons manufacturer, headquartered in the city of Dusseldorf.
The protesters had sought to block morning shift workers from entering the factory of Rheinmetall's competitor Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The group said it had succeeded in shutting down production at the facility for the day.
Protesters also marched through Kassel, where they encountered several more police blockades before heading towards the Rheinmetall building.
Activists posted photos of the protest on social media showing that the company officials had placed black tape over its signage, in an apparent attempt to prevent the appearance of its logo in photographs.
According to local press reports, the protest rallies are expected to continue through Sunday.
Germany remains the world’s fifth largest exporter of weapons, closely trailing China. In 2021, the German arms industry exported $9.34 billion worth of weaponry, marking a significant surge compared with pre-pandemic sales of $8 billion.
Among the country’s most notorious weapons purchasers are the regimes of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
One of the protest organizers, Conni Lenert, slammed Rheinmetall and other German arms makers as "profiteers of human suffering" during an interview with the local TAZ daily.
Asked about the ongoing Ukraine conflict, another protest organizer, identified as Nina Kemper, insisted that "there is no such thing as a war for peace" as claimed by some Western suppliers of weapons to Kiev, adding, "There cannot be peace in our capitalist system" since so many people profit off the weapons trade.
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