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

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‘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

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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

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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

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‘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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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Protest against Deportations to Afghanistan in Munich

After a massive bomb attack on the diplomatic district of Kabul, violent scenes going viral of police deporting a pupil from school in Nuremberg and protest by politicians and the public, deportations to Afghanistan have been – partially – paused since the evening of June 1st. The past two days protestors had been taking it to the streets all over Germany – and also in Munich, showing solidarity with refugees in danger of deportation.

Demonstration on Wednesday, May 31st

More then 400 people attended, of whom many were refugees themselves to stand up against deportations to Afghanistan. The event was very peaceful, only when riot-police showed up the atmosphere got worse. Also smaller scuffles with police broke out when a bystander showed a Hitler salute towards the demonstration walking down Ludwigstrasse in downtown Munich. Police arrested the bystander.

Rally by Bellevue di Monaco on June 1st

Many politicians and celebrities from Munich joined a rally in front of the ministry of education and cultural affairs on Wednesday night to especially protest against deportations out of schools – but also deportations to Afghanistan in general. Munich Hip-Hop/Brass band Moop Mama played a few songs.

Public Friday Prayer in Munich Cancelled in Fear of Neo-nazi Disturbance

On Friday May 19th some members of the Muslim community wanted to hold their Friday prayer on Marienplatz in Munich, to draw attention to the fact that more and more mosques have been closed during the past years in the Munich downtown area. In fact in the area around the city center there is no place left for muslims to gather and hold their worship. After neo-nazis announced on Facebook to disturb the event, the public prayer was cancelled. Police guided people to a close-by jesuit church. The prayer was then held there. Neonazis and regular PEGIDA attendants showed up and mocked people from the other side of the street. As a local activist asked police why those people are allowed here the policeman answered him that they were only having a walk and not disturbing. So after all neo-nazis managed to force people of other belief to not be able to hold their demonstration and display their faith. At the Jesuit church the local priest pushed out press even though the Muslim community said that pictures before the prayer were completely allowed and wished.

Mayday 2017 in Paris

For anyone that has been watching the political situation in France during the last year and especially the last week, as the first round of the presidential elections was held, it was very clear that this May 1st in Paris would be a remarkable day. The big workers unions and antifascists mobilized for a joint demonstration from Place de la Republique over Place de la Bastille to Place de la Nation. Police deployed 2000 officers, expecting up to 40.000 participants at the demonstration. Also the danger of a terror attack was discussed by officials in advance. The maybe historic Mayday demonstration in 2017 quickly turned violent and heavy riots continued during the whole march.

Festivities at Place de la Republique
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Statue on Place de la Republique equipped with a red flag and spray-painted next to it: ‘Nique le FN’ – Fuck the FN

At noon Place de la Republique – a traditional place to gather for protest in a rather touristic area – was already crowded with people. Different music was playing. Kurdisch activists showing support with the workers’ party of Kurdistan, were therefore waving PKK flags and dancing. A variety of grilled food was sold. A banner praising Marxism and Leninism was placed in the middle of the square. Red flags with hammer and sickle were attached to statues overlooking the place. People with flags, signs and banners against LePen – but as well against Macron – were pouring onto the square. Lots of people were getting ready for the rally through the city.

Violent Mayday demonstration
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Police was attacked with Molotov-Cocktails several times.

Workers’ unions like the CGT and other had organized the event. Participating with trucks and balloons they were setting everything in place. Several thousand people got together and formed a black block in the first part of the big demo. Just after a few meter the first escalation started. Riot police was getting close and protestors started throwing stones, bottles and pyrotechnics. This was answered by police very quickly with tear-gas. The situation escalated with police in between antifascist protestors leading to several riots going on at the same time. As there were also Molotov cocktails thrown at police forces on site those answered with rubber bullets. The fighting continued the whole demonstration. Plenty demonstrators were wounded. There are reports on Twitter about broken lenses of colleagues and violence against those. Rubber bullets were also fired at journalists. 

After all the escalation does not come by surprise. Exactly in between the two election rounds with ‚the problem and it’s cause‘ in the second round peoples anger could clearly be felt. This especially displayed when the black block was marching in the beginning, lighting smoke grenades, and – rather old – people standing at the side of the street were shouting: ‚Revolution, revolution, revolution…‘. France, representing Europe, seems to be at a historic turning point or point of no return.

‘Die Rechte’ Rallies in Leipzig- Thousands Join Counter-protest

On March 18th a little more than one year after heavy riots erupted in Leipzig-Connewitz, Neo-nazis once again gathered to hold a demonstration close to the alternative district of the Saxon city. Even less participated in the far-right rally. Thousands followed calls by different political groups and joined counter-protest. Protest mostly stayed peaceful. Eighteen counter-protestors were arrested. Amongst Neo-nazis were followers wearing signs of Greek far-right organization Golden Dawn, others clothed in uniform ‘Aryans – Protect your race’ shirts and a participant wore a backpack with ‘Combat18’ – the forbidden terror organization – written on it.

Color- and Mostly Peaceful Protest
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Youth block at counter-demonstration.

Already at 10AM the first counter-demonstration was held. Antifascists marched from Leipzig city center towards the alternative district Südvorstadt and Connewitz located South. A flare was lit half-way. Demonstrators then tried to get close to the route of the fascist gathering and block it. The high number of police forces, water-cannons and fences set-up prevented this. Alongside of the Neo-nazi demonstration approximately one thousand displayed their opinion on fascism and racism. Some pieces of wood and plastic bottles were thrown into the group of fascists marching by. At Bayerischer Platz young and old got together to join in protest. Still eighteen people were arrested on a vast variety of charges.

Gallery of Counter-Protest
Low Neo-nazi Numbers – But Openly Shown support for ‘Combat 18’
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Open support for forbidden terror-group.

Announcing protest with more then 400 people, March 18th must have been depressing for Neo-nazi leader and organizer Christian Worch. Only very few members of his party and some ‘Autonome Nationalisten’ made their way to Leipzig. The official slogan of the demonstration was ‘Heimat – Familie Zukunft’ – translated: ‘Home-Family-Future’. The situation in Connewitz has been tense during the past year. So the true reason and idea of this rally were probably differing a lot from the officially announced motto. After the heavy riots on December 12th, 2015 a group of 200 right-wing hooligans destroyed a whole street of Leipzig-Connewitz in the middle of the night. Retaliation by Antifa groups were: Destroyed apartments of some nazi-hooligans and a list with more than 200 names and addresses of people supposedly involved in the attack. Those events show that the alternative district is in focus of the militant far-right scene in Germany. Speakers from the states of Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Bayern were invited. The demonstration quite well showed the close connection of party ‘Die Rechte’ to international fascist organizations and it’s followers love for terrorism. A group of approximately eight joining the demonstration was wearing shirts that called to ‘Save your race’ with ‘Aryans’ imprinted on the front. At least one participant was wearing a beanie of Greek fascist organization with international connections Golden Dawn. Another participant had a beanie with two machine guns and ‘Misanthropic Division’ written between those. Very openly one participant was also able to wear a backpack with ‘Combat18’ written on. The international terror-organization is forbidden in Germany. His ID was checked and he could then leave after the rally. At the very end one Neo-nazi attacked a 24mmjournalism photographer on site – as tweeted:

 

Gallery of Neo-Nazis marching:


All in all police and city-council expected vandalism and rioting to erupt. The protest stayed mostly peaceful. The Neo-nazis were not able to reach citizens of the city. March 18th seem to have been a successful day for the city of Leipzig.

PEGIDA Munich’s 2nd Anniversary

On Monday January 16th PEGIDA gathered on Marienplatz in Munich for the racist group’s second anniversary. Antifascists gathered on Odeonsplatz to hold a counter-demonstration. At least 500 participated in the loud rally. Arriving at Rindermarkt, close to Marienplatz where the PEGIDA rally was held, a flare was lit.
Participating in the racist PEGIDA rally with the party’s banner, jackets and flags were activists of neo-nazi party ‘Der III. Weg’. During the rally p
olice ripped away banners of counter protestors  declaring those are not necessary for democratic protest. This ended in commotion.

Picture Gallery

Eviction of Hunger Strike Refugee Camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich

After one month of protest camp, a protest march to Nuremberg and five days of hunger strike refugees announced to start a dry hunger strike on Saturday November 5th. After several activists collapsing due to weakness, the city of Munich decided to evict the protestors at Sendlinger Tor. The refugees tried to draw attention to their miserable situation and refugees dying at the European borders with their protest in the city center of Munich. A prospect for the evicted activists can not be seen. After the eviction they will be returned to their camps.

Peaceful eviction of camp
Eviction of hunger strike refugee camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich
Police evicts camp at Sendlinger Tor. Non-citizens peacefully tare down camp and leave Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. Several collapsed due to weakness after hunger striking for five days.

At 5:15 PM massive police forces appeared around the Hunger striking activists. Police surrounded the camp on Sendlinger-Tor-Platz. After three announcements and with the last one letting people know force will be used to clear everybody off the camp’s grounds according to Refugee Struggle the group decided to peacefully end their strike. Several persons had to be brought to the hospital. Activists and supporters cleaned up tents, mattresses, sleeping-bags and all other goods on site. Approximately 50 refugees then left Sendlinger-Tor-Platz and went to get food and warm up after more then six weeks of protest. The group was accompanied by riot police forces. Some activists could barely walk.

Picture gallery of the eviction

Tree occupation and eviction
Eviction of hunger strike refugee camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich
Special forces remove refugees from trees.

Similar to the events in 2014, when Refugee Struggle for Freedom also held a hunger strike at the exact same spot, about 20 activists managed to occupy two trees. Munich police first completely ignored the occupation. Only at 9 PM a first group of officers surrounded the new protest site, but soon left. It can only be guessed that Munich police officials hoped that after 5 days of hunger striking people will climb off the trees themselves. At 11 PM the eviction of those trees started. First off riot forces surrounded the rally. Some activists left the tree by themselves. Soon later more forces arrived and set up blocks to keep off more supporters. After three announcements police and Munich fire department started setting up so called “jump pillows”, straw and mattrasses to prevent injuries in case activists fell off the tree. Soon later the supporters forming a chain around one tree were cleared and arrested. A special forces climbing unit arrived. Those then rappeled and under screams and the threat to commit suicide by the refugees, removed activists from the trees.Some could barely walk, but were taken in custody by riot police officers. The operations were finished at 4:34 PM with the last activist torn off the tree.

Picture gallery of tree eviction
Prospect for refugee protest in Munich

After six weeks of protest ending today in the early morning hours of November 5th a prospect can hardly be seen for refugees in Germany. Asylum cases from so called “safe-third-countries” are dropped even though people fear their death after deportation. Politicians have completely ignored the prostest and neglect the peoples’ wish to work, integrate and become part of a “normal” social life in Germany. With several activists brought to the hospital and an eviction made reasonable due to health risks for the activists one can only hope that none of the refugees have permanent injuries. This will for sure not be the last refugee protest in Munich. To finish with a quote often said by activists and supporters: “The struggle continues”.

Video Reportage by the colleagues SPICY