Millions of workers marched proudly to celebrate May Day today (Thursday), but a new-looked civilian parade in Moscow set a subdued tone for the communist world.
Millions of workers marched proudly to celebrate May Day today (Thursday), but a new-looked civilian parade in Moscow set a subdued tone for the communist world. East Germany was the only Warsaw Pact nation to stage the traditional show of military power.
In East Berlin, Head of State, Walter Ulbricht, presided at a 30-minute march past the included Soviet-built tanks, armoured cars and the latest missiles.
Under a grey sky and steady drizzle, the show of East German strike power rattled slowly past the podium erected in Marx-Engels Platz, where Herr Ulbricht sat with other leading statesmen.
The march past was led by cadets from East Germany's army academies, and included workers, factory guards and youths.
As in previous years, the military parade drew a protest from the three western allies in Berlin--who with the Soviet Union are responsible for the city--on the ground that it contravened the post-war Potsdam Agreement banning military activity from the city.
In West Berlin, the city's mayor, Klaus Scheutz, presided over a mass rally of city government workers and trade unionists.
The mayor, speaking the some 30,000 West Berliners outside the huge Reichstag building, appealed to the Soviet Union and East Germany to enter into a serious dialogue over Berlin.
He appealed for an end to "the cramped immobility of the past" and for moves towards a peaceful coexistence.
As the mayor was speaking, two rival demonstrations--one staged by the West Berlin Communist Party and the second by the city's revolutionary left wing youth movement--were taking place.
About 4,000 West Berlin communists marched through the workers' district of Neukeelin, carrying portraits of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the assassinated German revolutionaries. They also carried posters calling for the recognition of East Germany.
To the north, in the workers' district of Wedding, more than six thousand students, high school children and young workers marched through the streets with portraits of Mao Tse-Tung, Karl Marx and Lenin and hundreds of red flags.
Hundreds of West Berlin riot police stood by as they marched through the streets. But apart from several minor incidents there were no serious clashes.