MUNICH, Germany, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of Germans took to the streets here on Saturday against the ongoing Munich Security Conference (MSC), saying the meeting was a source of war.
Protesters from about 80 organizations across Germany met on the Stachus Plaza Saturday afternoon and marched through the downtown area in a peaceful demonstration also supported by several federal officials, organizers said.
"The security conference is a sham, against which we are determined to demonstrate," said Johannes Jonic, spokesperson for an organization against war and racism. "The war in Munich" begins with this conference, he added.
MSC organizers stressed that the meeting was aimed at defusing conflicts and rejected protests by peace campaigners, saying that rights groups such as Amnesty International are also on the guest list.
"Accusing us of inviting the defense industry to prepare for the next war is the height of stupidity," said conference organizer Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to London and Washington, last week.
The forum, which has attracted more than 400 foreign and defence policy heavyweights, bills itself as being "dedicated to exchanging new ideas and promoting peaceful conflict solution, cooperation and dialogue in dealing with today's and future security challenges."
The three-day event, which began on Friday, discusses global hot-spot issues such as the situation in Mali, Syria, and the eurozone crisis.
Local police said about 2,000 people joined the protest, much fewer than the expected 5,000 participants, and five had been arrested.
"For us as Munich policemen, it's very clear that we will leave no room for violence," said spokesman of the Munich police Wolfgang Wenger.