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.

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Police in fight with anarchists at Polytechniko

Anarchists attacked police and busses out of Polytechniko university with stones and molotow cocktails. Two buses were burning as we arrived on site. Teargas was fired into the occupied university. Fights went on until late at night.

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:

 

End-of-year review 2015

This year is almost over. Below I collected a few of my pictures documenting protests, neo-nazis gathering, racists marching, refugees arriving and just some snapshots of 2015.
Most recent pictures are listed up top.

 Thanks to all the colleagues I worked with the past year and everybody following and supporting my work.

 

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:

 

Demonstration against Erdogan’s politics – Peaceful protest through the city center of Munich

Last night more then 200 Kurds, friends and sympathisers gathered on Karlsplatz Stachus in the Munich city center to show their anger against the politics of Erdogan. The prime-minister of Turkey – after his loss in the elections – ordered air-strikes against ISIS which where instead hitting the region of Rojava hard. The Turkish army is moving into Rojava, not only attacking ISIS, but YPG/YPJ controlled vilages as well.

In general, the protest remained remarkably peaceful – with the only exception in the form of a PEGIDA member who was involved in an altercation with an unknown person inside the Stachus McDonalds. He was subsequently escorted by police in a fruitless search around the plaza. Additionally, he is also a member of the party “Die Freiheit”, lending credit to the possibility that anyone in attendance recognized him for spewing hatred at their numerous demonstrations. Bizarrely, he was also seen with an entire clove of garlic in his bag .

Funfact: Counter “Die-Freiheit” protestors like to call him “the vampire”.
Not so funfact: He is widely known for his agressive behaviour, accompanying Rolf H. during his attacks on photojournalists.

After one hour, on the corner of Sendlinger- and Schwanthalerstraße, suddingly smoke was pushed down from a buildings roof. Firemen and women arrived minutes later. The demonstration had to stop for a little while – but then passed by. This week “Hoch lebe ISIS” – “Long live ISIS” shouts were not heared.

Just three of my pics:

Demonstration for solidarity with Kobane – Munich

After news vom Syria reached the world and also the kurdish community in Munich that the islamic state conducted Suicide attacks on Kobane yesterday, a demonstration was held. Between 30-40 activists gathered on the Marienplatz with banners asking for solidarity with Kobane and to engage against imperialism:

During speaches the main topic was the turkish role in this war. There is evidence that suggests that the isis troops entered Turkey and crossed the border again on a truck to conduct the attacks. The loss of the HDP and the failure to set up a presidential system – enforcing his power –  in Turkey may lead to this acceptance of Islamic State troopers on the Turkish side of the border.

A rather cruel than ironic fact ist that Turkey makes it almost impossible for refugees to cross the borders and escape from the war in the Northern Syrian region.

Interesting article about the situation at the border with: http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/a-1038743.html

The event and its speaches gained large public attention – and hopefully directed some attention to the situation in Kobane and at the Turkish-Syrian border. Sadly the demostration was disturbed at around 6:30PM. Fireworkers were moving onto the Marienplatz in large scale. All information I got from a policeman blocking a stairway on sight: “Probably a fire in the lower areas.”

Still some pictures from the firefighters on sight: