500 German army recruits have been sworn in at a controversial public ceremony in front of the parliament building in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those present at the event, which previously was held in the more discreet surroundings of the Defence Ministry.
There was a significant police presence for the occasion, meant to show democratic unity but which peace campaigners denounced as “promoting war.”
“I would prefer such ceremonies not to take place at all, they only serve to swear in young people to die for the Fatherland. I think the development should be the other way round, disarmament instead of armament,” one woman told reporters.
The swearing-in was held on the 64th anniversary of the failed Von Stauffenberg plot to assassinate Hitler. Scuffles broke out later in the evening between anti-war protestors and the authorities.
The police moved in when loudspeakers were used to try and disrupt the proceedings.
Several people were arrested.