GA English on Sunday News in Brief for the Weekend

Bonn/Region · Some 400 demonstrators took part in the 11th Easter March in Bonn on Saturday, calling for an end to the wars in Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Syria and over 40 other regions around the world; the A450 motorway had to be closed at the Siegburg junction on Saturday afternoon after a VW Polo caught fire; and a mysterious tower in Bonn Duisdorf turns out to be very nature-friendly. Our news in brief for Easter Sunday.

GA English on Sunday: News in Brief for the Weekend
Foto: Abir Kassis

Calls for diplomacy instead of war at Bonn’s Easter march

Around 400 people gathered on the banks of the Rhine in Beuel on Saturday for the traditional Easter march to protest against war and violence. "In view of the wars that have flared up again, the Easter marches unfortunately never lose their topicality and necessity," said co-initiator Doro Schmitz before the protest march.

Demonstrators called for an end to the wars in Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, Syria and over 40 other regions around the world. Under the slogan "Make peace - end wars", they called for diplomatic negotiations with the governments concerned.

The participants of the 11th Bonn Easter March came from all parts of the city, some of them from other regions. One of them is Sabine Felsch, who came from the Westerwald to set an example. She is convinced: "In times like these, the only thing you can do is go out and show your face."

Felsch believes that supplying arms to Ukraine is counterproductive. Wouldn't an end to arms supplies mean the end of Ukraine? "The war cannot be won, no matter how many weapons are delivered," she stresses, calling instead for peace talks and negotiations. Her appeal to the German government: "Switzerland does not support warring parties, but provides humanitarian aid and mediates between the conflict parties - this could be an example to follow."

Criticism of the German government's policy

Thomas Hluchnik agrees. "The opposite of diplomacy is stupidity," his placard read. He was referring to Willy Brandt's policy of détente, which led to a rapprochement between East and West in the 1970s. "All these diplomatic achievements are being destroyed by the current policy," he said.

He sees Ukraine as a "useful idiot" in the sense of "American superpower politics". Germany and Europe are merely vassals of the US, which is using up its resources in the conflicts and neglecting its own interests.

Solidarity with Palestine

Cries of "Free Palestine" and "Viva Palestina" could be heard throughout the Easter march. Elisa Brink is one of several protesters wearing a black and white Palestinian scarf around her neck at the rally. She is concerned about the many innocent victims of the war in Gaza. "It is intolerable how many children have to die just because a few politicians want to push through their power interests," Brink said. She also finds the government's actions paradoxical: "We recently sent food parcels and aid to Gaza - and at the same time we exported over 300 million euros worth of arms to Israel.

Arnold Bruns, who distributed DKP (German Communist Party) leaflets at the rally, was particularly critical of Israel's settlement policy, which is indirectly supported by arms supplies: "The Israeli government has not accepted a single binding resolution of the UN Charter, not even the two-state solution," he said.

Several participants in the Easter march refused to speak to the General-Anzeiger. One demonstrator argued for the abolition of GEZ fees, saying that public media and the Axel Springer publishing house had too much influence on opinion-forming in Germany.

From Beuel the march went across the Kennedy Bridge, where flowers were laid to honour the victims of war and flight, to the Münsterplatz in Bonn. The final rally took place there at 14.30.

(Original text: Abir Kassis / Translation: Jean Lennox)

VW Polo burns out at Siegburg junction

The A560 motorway was completely closed at the Siegburg junction on Saturday morning after a car caught fire. At 10.49am, a 58-year-old woman from Sankt Augustin was driving her VW Polo towards Hennef when she noticed smoke coming from her vehicle. She pulled over to the hard shoulder at the Siegburg junction between Niederpleis and Hennef-West and called the emergency services. She managed to get to safety and was unharmed.

According to police, the Polo was fully engulfed in flames when officers arrived at the scene. The motorway was completely closed in both directions, forcing other motorists to divert to the A3. Crews from two fire engines extinguished the burning car and then had to remove a large area of foam from the carriageway. The motorway maintenance team then removed the binder applied by the fire brigade. The salvage operation was completed at around 12.10pm, allowing the A560 to reopen in both directions.

When contacted by GA, the Cologne motorway police said that the asphalt had been affected by the fire. The damage is still being assessed and the road surface will be repaired as soon as possible. The exact amount of damage is therefore unclear, as is the cause of the fire. Further investigations are ongoing.

(Original text: Chantal Dötsch / Translation: Jean Lennox)

Wooden structure in Bonn's Finkenhof Park causes confusion

Over the past few days, a 2.50-metre-high wooden structure on the grass in Finkenhof Park has caused confusion not only among residents of the park, but also on social media. "Does anyone know what is being built in Finkenhofpark?" a Facebook user asked on Wednesday, posting a photo of the wooden structure in the "Bonn- Duisdorf" group. While some members of the group suggested it was a structure for an Easter bonfire or a graffiti wall for young people, one user joked that he recognised the tower as a rocket launch pad for Elon Musk's Space X company.

City builds tower of life for insects and small animals

An enquiry by the General-Anzeiger newspaper to the press office of the city of Bonn revealed that the tower is not a rocket launch pad, but a so-called "Lebensturn". "It is, so to speak, an extended version of a bug hotel," explains spokeswoman Andrea Schulte. As well as nesting boxes for insects, the tower also contains materials such as logs or wood shavings on its various levels. This means that, as well as insects, it also provides shelter for smaller animals such as hedgehogs. There will also be an information board on the tower with all the relevant information.

The Lebensturm is a project of the Bonn Office for the Environment and City Greenery, Schulte added. In order to stop the decline of species, it is important to preserve and support the habitats of wild animals and plants, the city council wrote in a press release on nesting boxes and insect hotels in February last year. The flowering meadow at Finkenhof is a suitable location for two nesting boxes.

According to Schulte, it is still unclear when the first animals will be able to move into their new tower. Nor is the cost of the project known. And until it's finished, the construction is likely to be the subject of much speculation among passers-by.

(Original text: Christine Bähr / Translation: Jean Lennox)