Protests against G20 in Hamburg

On July 6th and 7th the leaders of the most powerful countries around the world gathered in Hamburg. Aim of the meeting was to connect the twenty leading industrial states and emergent countries under the motto ‚Gemeinsam mehr erreichen als allein’. The city of Hamburg was shattered by more then fifty demonstrations during the summit. Courts interdicted spontaneous gatherings of people. Nevertheless thousands tried to block G20 in Hamburg. Some of the heaviest riots and clashes in the past thirty years and one of the biggest police missions in german post-war history took place around the International Congress Center in Hamburg.

Before protest began activists already got in trouble with police as they tried to prevent demonstrators that travelled to Hamburg from setting up tents in parks. In the end several small campsites were errupted. Two days before the summit meeting, on the 5th a night-dance demo took place. Everything stayed very peaceful as people were raving through the streets. The summit still seemed quite a bit away. On Thursday the protest wave hit the city.

Welcome to Hell – Police escalates situation at Fischmarkt

hamburg_20170706_41
‘Welcome to Hell’ demonstration is dispearsed by police with water-cannons on Hafenstrasse.
On Thursday evening – starting with a concert – more than twenty-thousand people gathered at Fischmarkt. Die goldenen Zitronen, Neonschwarz and many more played music against G20. As the protestor gathered on Hafenstrasse some of the participants mummed themselves. According to Hartmud Dudde, police operations manager, known for commiting breach of the law for several times with his tactics, six-hundred participants were hiding their faces. This number published in a press conference on Sunday July 9th is very hard to verify and was used to legitimize a police intervention that left many hurt and at least one person heavily injured. Our team whiteness the intervention. Groups of people were dispersed throughout the area near the Hafenstrasse. One car and a roadblock were burning. The police escalation of the demonstration in still and moving images:

At night the situation calmed a little down. People were getting ready for the first day of the summit and the many protests against it.

Shut Down the Logistics of capital

hamburg_20170707_50
Front-banners of demosntration towards Hamurg harbour.
Early in the morning on July 7th the communist group ‚…Ums’s Ganze‘ organized a protest a little off the actual meeting. Activists met at the harbour to block goods from being transported into the container terminals. More then 500 parttook in this action. A huge traffic jam evolved and trucks did not reach the harbor on this route. On-site speakers said from the truck with a soundsystem that this is the exactly perfect spot, this is not an action against police or the harbour-workers, but a direct intervention in the stream of goods and therefore capital.

Color the Red-Zone

hamburg_20170707_61
Road block of VIP Shuttle bus.
Already early the morning several thousand gathered all across the city to disturb the meeting and block routes of delegations and politicians transported to the International Congress Center. On Twitter was reported that VIP shuttles had to turn around as they were blocked. Even in the afternoon every once and a while smaller roadblocks led to full stops of busses. At the same time in Hamburg-Altona militants took action. Several cars were burning and banks attacked. Police tweeted that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers. This could not be verified so far and is possibly false information.
In the afternoon approximately five-thousand demonstrators tried to disturb an event at the newly opened Elbphilarmonie in a so called ‚Second Wave‘. Spontaneously a large group moved throughout St. Pauli. At least one luxury building was attacked with stones. Police pushed back a mass of people that approached the concert hall with water cannons. Several police officers were hurt as rockets, bottles and stones hit. The crowd then spread throughout Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli.

Heavy Riots in Alternative Schanzenviertel

hamburg_20170707_101
‘Peace is not an option’
Towards 7 PM groups gathered around Neuer Pferdemarkt. Some of the heaviest riots Germany has seen in the past thirty years started. Street barriers were lit. At least four stores were loitered. Police was pushed back by militants with stones, pyrotechnics and iron bars. Police did not enter the district for more then three hours. Drunk people from bars in the area joined organized militant anticapitalists. This is the point where the protest and the mood completely changed. Drunk people attacked police with glass bottles, started filming themselves, taking selfies and posing. Police then called special forces trained for high-security arrests, terror events and tactical mission. Thus joined other police forces and a task force entered a house to arrest people on a roof. On video footage released today by police in a press screening police pretends the throw of a molotov can be seen, that did not explode. 24mmjournalism was on site as this supposively happened and we can not verify nor deny that the bottle that is thrown in the video from the rooftop was a molotov cocktail. Police also presented a steel ball that was supposively found stuck in the armor of a water cannon, that was involved pushing into the district Schanze. Officials justify the deployment of heaviy armed special forces with people on roofs shooting iron balls with slingshots. With more then six-hundred police men and women, some of them armored with riffles, tear-gas, armored trucks, and water-cannons police was able to clear the area around occupied theatre Rote Flora at approximately 2 AM. Rumors about evictions of the occupied social center spread on Twitter. Thus were incorrect. Little clashes continued for two more hours in the area around. The number of hurt demonstrators by brutal police forces is unknown. Paramedics on site told us they were not able to count, but it were many.

Photo and Video

Mass Demonstration

hamburg_20170708_146
Front banner of mass demonstration against G20
On Saturday ten thousands of people then gathered for a mass demonstration. Organizers spoke of more then 76.000 people participating. In the back of the demonstration that stayed relatively peaceful several groups that showed antisemitic signs marched. Amongst those BDS. The march ended in a concert with several punk bands playing.

Drunk People Attack Police

hamburg_20170709_166
Beer drinking, unmasked, blocking armoured police truck getting hit by water-cannon
After concerts ended on Saturday, near famous Millerntorstation, people moved towards the alternative Schanzenviertel again. Opposing the night before, the mood was really chill. People were drinking and hanging out. Then police started to arrest single people. Others already drunk started to throw bottles. Hour by hour the situation got more tense. Completely different then the night before, no organized groups started actions. Groups of mainly young men shouting swear-words attacked police.

hamburg_20170709_163
SEK with rifle.
Glass bottles were thrown. Water-cannons were used. A group of people tried to intervene and stepped in front of the water cannon with hands held up in the air. Drunks and unorganized rioters kept throwing bottles. This led to a further escalation of the situation. After action the night before with people attacking police from the roofs special forces were deployed again. SEK showed up with their brand new anti-terror truck Survivor. The military-equipped forces stood amongst drunks in front of Reithalle – in full gear with riffles etc – as the street was crowded and their deployment completely unnecessary they took off.
Later on Schulterblatt street drunks throwing bottles at police continued. Me and a freelance colleague were directly targeted by a group. I was also body-checked twice. The actions against police in the district continued for several hours.

Neo-nazis attack Alternative Bars

After a night of heavy riots neo-nazis from Northern Germany called for action to protect Germany. Eye-whitnesses told us a group of 15-50 attacked punk bars Onkel Otto, Kogge and at least another bar in the area around Hafenstrasse. The group could not be found by us in the early morning hours of July 9th.

Calm returned to the alternative district the next morning. Several unbearable and questionable things happened during the protest to colleagues working. Therefore some of the stories described below.

Press Freedom

pressfreedom_20170707_1.jpg
Journalists taking pictures of burning barricades at Schulterblatt – icon image
As usual at mass events and summit meetings the organizers set up a press center close to the meeting area. Journalists – also accredited our team – are able to work here, are offered free food, high-speed internet and most recent breaking news. Several critics were tweeted by colleagues: Workspaces were to few on the first day with 5000 journalists that signed up. On the second day colleagues started reporting that there accreditations were withdrawn. This concerned mainly journalists working on protests against the meeting.

The german federal bureau of investigation BKA handed out four-page lists with names of journalists to take away their pass. We did not attempt to enter the press center as the accreditation is utterly important for working without trouble by police on demonstrations against such events. Journalists’ unions and Reporters without Borders got involved with the process and are questioning the case. This is especially strange as the BKA even did not answer to public television ARD what the exact cause for the withdrawel was. Also on the streets the situation with police officers and press was very tense several times. Colleague Flo Smith reported that he and his TV team were directly attacked with the words ‚Fuck the Press’ by police – more to be read in an article by Huffington Post.

Our team was body-checked, cussed at and targeted with bottles whilst working on the night of the 8th. This did not happen during the heavy riots on the 7ths even though we were reported a camera-team of news channel N24 was attacked. As well as a reporter of taz-die tageszeitung:

Journalist Erik Marquadt was insulted antisemitic on the night of the 8th.

An unbearable situation for journalists that has do be brought to the public nd widely questioned throughout society.

Commentary

All in all to me the protest against the meeting seemed successfull. Plenty groups drew attention away from the meeting. Travels for delegations with bus to the center were at least delayed. In the public reception loitering will always take a big roll when talking about G20 in Hamburg. Especially the second night of riots though was not at all done by organized people, but simply drunks getting into stress with police. This takes away attention of the aims of the protest and leads to a criminalization. An historic protest weekend happened the past four days in the downtown of Hamburg – it will stay in people’s minds.

Aftermath

To present a little overview over the damage – some pictures of cleaning and spectators taking selfies next to broken windows, as well as journalists working in the area.

Advertisements

Deportations to Afghanistan Rescheduled

On May 31st another two charter-deportation flights to Afghanistan were supposed to be conducted from Munich and Frankfurt Airport in the evening hours. In the morning a heavy explosion shattered the area around the german embassy leaving more then 80 dead – death tolls still rising. Therefore the ministry of the interior issued a statement announcing a rescheduling of the flights. The statement from government circles states that the embassy does not have the capacity to handle the bureaucracy connected to the deportations after the attack.  At the same time a 21-year-old Afghan trainee was pulled out of his class in school. Pupils tried to block his deportation. Police used massive violence. Afghanistan is still seen as a safe-to-deport to country.

Header-picture: Rejected refugees are transported to the charter-plane heading for Afghanistan March 2017.

Flights rescheduled

flughafen-20170327_10
Meridiana plane with rejected asylum seekers aboard, before heading to Afghanistan – March 2017

According to government circles the flights are cancelled for the following reason:

” Die deutsche Botschaft in Kabul hat eine wichtige logistische Rolle beim Empfang rückgeführter Personen vor Ort. Die dortigen Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter haben so kurz nach diesem Anschlag jetzt wichtigeres zu tun, als solche organisatorischen Maßnahmen vorzubereiten. In den nächsten paar Tagen wird es daher keine Sammelrückführung nach Afghanistan geben.

Es ist und bleibt aber richtig, dass nach unserem Gesetz bestehende Ausreisepflichten durchgesetzt werden müssen. Dieser Grundsatz  gilt auch für Afghanistan, insbesondere bei Straftätern, und dieser Weg wird konsequent weiter beschritten. “
– aus Regierungskreisen

roughly translated, this means:

The german embassy in Kabul is taking an important logistic role in taking in deported people on site. The employees have more important things to do after the terror attack, then preparing bureaucratic measures. In the upcoming days there will therefore be no mass deportations  to Afghanistan.
It is and stays important to conduct obligations to leave the county according to our laws. This principle also applies to Afghanistan, especially with criminal offenders, and this road hast to be taken consequently.

– from government circles

This statement undermines the government’s approach on deporting to Afghanistan very well. The country is seen as safe. Therefore people – no matter how well integrated – will be deported. In our short video-report we took on the question if Afghanistan is a safe country and documented deportations from Munich a little more then a month ago.

Deportation from Class in Nuremberg

On May 31st police entered class of a refugee from Afghanistan, according to the BFR a 21-year-old, well integrated, fluently german speaking man that had begun a traineeship as a carpenter a while ago. As they arrested him other 200 to 300 pupils stood up to show civil unrest and block the seportation. According to nordbayern.de after the first police car was blocked the young man was forced into a second car. A second roadblock was evicted by police and several pupils were arrested. A spontaneous demonstration evolved from the events.

Demonstrations in several cities tonight:

Activists, supporters and refugees are calling for demonstrations against deportations tonight – we will be in Munich to cover the demonstration.

Shootout Maxvorstadt Munich after Custody Case

Report by colleagues of Reflektierter Bengel that were on site rearly and captured some special forces in action: http://reflektierter-bengel.de/sorgerechtsstreit-endet-in-schusswechsel/

My small photoreport of actions later last night – medical and police staff securing the area around the shooting and collecting evidences:

Fire In Newly Opened Refugee Housing Containers

Today 32 containers burned out that were newly opened for refugees to move in. The Munich Police Departement assumes -so far- that this has not been an act of arson. One person -a security guard- was hurt and had to be treated in a hospital with fume poisoning. All 75 refugees that just moved in today have been given shelter in other facilities.

Pictures of the burned out shanties:

 

Neonazis march in Leipzig Südvorstadt – Violence Erupts

On December 12th neonazis wanted to march through the alternative neighborhood of Leipzig Connewitz. The city of Leipzig denied the desired route. Instead the neonazis were moved a little more north into the Südvorstadt. All in all the neonazi route was 575m long. Antifacist activists announced to “Keep Connewitz red!”.
Just before the far right demonstration started marching a group of approximately 40 left activists tried to block the route. Saxonian police forces removed the road block. Only minutes later violent clashes between police forces and left activists broke out some blocks away from the neonazi marching route. Police tried to block a road leading to the neonazi route. Stones were flying just seconds later. Police fired first huge amount of tear gas – this basically continued for the whole day.

Police Violence

Unbelievable was the police violence yesterday. After the first clashes police ran into the mass of left activists and beat up a person until he fainted and was laying on the floor. As he laid there fainted a riot police officer kneed on his back and handcuffed him with cable ties. As colleagues and I witnessed the situation we asked police officers to call an ambulance – the harsh answer was: “We take care of this – mind your own business!”. My colleague then dialed the emergency hotline and ordered an ambulance. While he was doing that riot police officers tried to push us away. As the beaten up person was laying on the floor with epileptic seizures still in cable ties my colleague rushed through and gave first aid until the ambulance arrived.
Violent beatings by police officers also on peaceful anti-nazi demonstrators continued the whole day. Police write in their report about 69 hurt officers  – how many activists were hurt remains unclear.

Tear gas

In an unbelievable mass riot police forces started firing tear gas from the first violent riots on. Some of the officers were even launching the tear gas at face value. Police officers themselves were coughing the whole day – since they did not wear gas masks. How many of police officers were hurt by their own tear gas also remains unclear.

All in all the neonazis marched their route – with the road trying to be blocked twice – police violence and riots erupted just two blocks down the road. Rocks were flying, tear gas was launched, glas was brocken and water cannons were fired – this all also on peaceful demonstrators.

The tactic by the Saxonian police to calm down the riots can not be concluded
My impressions from #le1212:

 

Refugees arriving with the “Train of Hope” in Munich

As I mentioned in my last post I am back in Munich and getting back on reporting about the refugee situation. Almost one year ago I held the following interviews with refugees holding a hunger strike on Sendlinger Tor to draw attention on the bad situation of refugees in Munich/Europe:

Now the situation of refugees arriving as well as the ones awaiting a decision about their application to stay in Germany keeps getting worse. During the last three days about 3000 refugees arrived at Munich central station. The humanitarian support by the citizens of Munich is unbelievable – food, cover from the rain that started today, clothing, toys and all that is needed. A huge problem is neo-nazis using the situation to threaten arriving refugees. Mentioned on twitter by a collegue:

I will keep visiting and documenting the refugee situation at Munich central station as I did at Sendlinger Tor. Just some few impressions from last night: