Scholz branded ‘warmonger’ at rally held by his own party
German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, received an icy welcome at a ‘European Festival’ organized by his own Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Friday. Scholz was booed and whistled at as he sought to address a festival held in the town of Falkensee, in the German state of Brandenburg, near Berlin.
Footage published by the Ruptly video agency shows event attendees criticizing Scholz for being a "people’s traitor" and a "warmonger." Few supporters are seen cheering for the chancellor. A group was also heard shouting "liar" and "bandit" while demanding "peace without weapons" and urging Scholz to "go away."
According to the German tabloid Bild, some of the chancellor’s critics are associated with the country's right-wing scene and were wearing clothes bearing symbols of Russia and the anti-vaccination movement.
Scholz defended his government’s policies amid the chilly reception, insisting that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a "warmonger" for ordering the military operation in Ukraine. He also dismissed his critics as "loudmouths," adding that had they had "any sense in [their] brains" they would criticize the Russian leadership instead of him.
The chancellor was supported by Brandenburg's Prime Minister Dietmar Woidke, who remarked that the demonstration "belongs on the Red Square." Woidke, an SPD member, told the demonstrators that it was thanks to "democracy" and "freedom" that they were allowed to "quarrel" at the rally.
A YouGov survey published in May suggested that most Germans favored peace talks between Kiev and Moscow. As many as 54% of the respondents also opposed Ukraine’s potential NATO membership.
The German public also appeared to be wary of the massive military support Berlin provided to Kiev throughout the conflict. In a February survey, almost two-thirds of Germans polled opposed providing Kiev with fighter jets. In December 2022, a YouGov poll indicated that 45% were against sending German Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine.
A number of German celebrities and public figures have also sent two open letters to Scholz, in which they urged Berlin to stop supplying Ukrainian forces with arms and focus instead on reaching a ceasefire through peaceful means instead.