On May 30–31, 1981, bicycle demonstrations under the motto “Mobile without a Car” [“Mobil ohne Auto”] took place in 25 different cities in the GDR. The demonstrations were part of an initiative by Hans-Peter Gensichen, head of the Church Research Center in Wittenberg. There was another demonstration the following year, on June 5–6, 1982, and several thousand cyclists took part. This form of public protest also appealed to environmentally conscious youth in East Berlin, who organized the city’s first bicycle demonstration on July 4, 1982. The route led from Prenzlauer Berg down Invalidenstrasse, Chausseestrasse, Friedrichstrasse, Unter den Linden, and Karl-Marx-Allee to Friedrichshain. On Unter den Linden, the cyclists tied kerchiefs around their noses and mouths to draw attention to air pollution in the GDR.

Bicycle Demo, East Berlin (July 4, 1982)


Source: Photo: Tom Sello. Archive of the Robert Havemann Gesellschaft. Image no.: RHG_Fo_HAB_17942.

© Tom Sello/ Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft