Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Monday Demonstrations 1989
The Monday demonstrations started in 1989 in the Eastern German city of Leipzig after prayers for peace in the Nikolai Church with parson Christian Führer . Citizens who wanted to leave the country joined in the court of the church, and non-violent demonstrations started in order to obtain rights like the freedom to travel to foreign countries and to elect a democratic government. The most famous chant became Wir sind das Volk ! - We are the people. The demonstrations ended in March 1990, around the elections that led to the German reunification.
New Monday Demonstrations 2004
New Monday demonstrations started in 2004 to protest against the Hartz IV reform. The Hartz IV "reform" unifies the social welfare system and unemployment payouts, which meant among many other things that benefits for the long-term unemployed (more than 12 months out of the job) would be cut to a maximum of 345 Euros per month. Many people are afraid that their families will receive much less money; consequently, the PDS dubbed it "Armut per Gesetz" (Poverty by law). While scrapping unemployment benefits will be tough for the West, it may spell doom for many people in the East, who think it will be catastrophic for them. (Unemployment figures in the East are much higher than in the West; unemployment there is hovering around 20% of the workforce, with peaks of up to 40% in some regions.) Although leading German economics experts still claim that the "reforms" are necessary for Germany's future, and that the demonstrations were populist, the majority of Germans still find the tinkering with the social welfare system in Germany grossly unfair. Politicians say that it is politically incorrect to use the term "Monday demonstrations"; the demonstrators nonetheless have been chanting: "Wir sind das Volk ."
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