Thousands of people marched across Germany to protest against NATO's wars in Libya and Afghanistan as part of the country's traditional Easter marches. German peace and church groups as well as labor unions have planned numerous anti-war campaigns over the Easter holidays in major German cities and towns, including Berlin, Dortmund, Bremen Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Nuremberg, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart. Several USZ military bases in smaller German cities like Ramstein, Ansbach, Wiesbaden, Heidelberg were also targeted by peace demonstrators as Germany is a major logistics center for USZ military operations abroad and was also the staging ground for American wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. The German peace rallies focus this year mostly on NATO's escalating war in Libya. A NATO member, Germany is not directly supporting the mission of the western military alliance in the north African country.
The Easter marches dwell also on the need for global disarmament, specifically the removal of some 20 US nuclear weapons based in Germany. The German peace movement has repeatedly called for the abolition of all nuclear weapons and has used the Eastern peace marches to press the center-right government of Chancellor Angela Merkel to step up its campaign for a nuke-free Germany. The issue of American atomic weapons and militarism in Germany has been a thorny one for most of Germans who view themselves as pacifists. In fact, the history of Easter peace marches dates back to over 50 years and reached its peak when more than 500,000 people demonstrated against the controversial deployment of medium-range USZ Pershing missiles in Europe in the early 1980s. However, public interest in the Easter marches has significantly faded since the end of the Cold War.