Krefeld protest: dress rehearsal?
Bonn and Krefeld, West Germany
Vice-President George Bush and West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl lauded American-German friendship inside the Silk Weavers' Hall in Krefeld Saturday. Outside, ''chaotics'' stoned the police and the official motorcade and disrupted the street parades. Police said 134 persons were detained. If the battle in this ''year of the missile'' is for the hearts and minds of the West German population, the officials seemed to win on the sunny, summer day. The violent protesters only alienated the Krefelders.
Elsewhere in the city an estimated 20,000 demonstrators protested peacefully against the stationing of new NATO missiles in West Germany, in what is seen as a dress rehearsal for a hot fall of protests. The sharpest antinuclear confrontation is likely to come in October, when demonstrations of 1 to 2 million are planned.
The occasion was the kick-off ceremony of the 300th anniversary of the first emigration of Germans from Krefeld to America, report Monitor correspondents Gary Thatcher and Elizabeth Pond. The two governments are playing up heavily the anniversary to accentuate the positive in a period of strong antinuclear feeling with some anti-American overtones.
Krefeld is a special symbol for the peace movement. Two years ago the Krefeld Appeal against new NATO missiles was launched there - an appeal that environmentalist Green party leader Petra Kelly says has now attracted 4 million signatures (and that the government says was communist-steered).