A Little Review to 24mmjournalism’s Year 2016

A lot has happened in the past year. International politics, with Donald Trump being president-elect in the United States, are shifting towards a so called post-factual approach. All over Germany the amount of hate-crimes related to the right-extremist scene rose as newspaper ZEIT reports in this article. Neo-nazis rally against refugees and riot. Barracks and buildings supposed to give shelter to people newly arriving in Germany are lit. The far-right party ‘AfD’ is able to collect votes in the first elections since being founded in 2013. Europe fortifies itself. Just off Europe’s borders desperate people from e.g. Syria needing shelter sit and wait. Erdogan keeps installing an autocracy in Turkey. Freedom of press is not granted anymore in the country shaken by an attempted coup this summer that led to mass arrests. The 24mmjournalism team covering social issues, protests and general news, documented incidents during the past year displaying anger, mischief, despair and pure hate. The following small excerpts of our work do not raise the claim of completeness at all. We tried to sort kind of chronologically.

PEGIDA Munich

PEGIDA Munich marches - neonazis hold speeches

To sum up everything that happened at the Munich local PEGIDA branch in some sentences is hardly possible. The Munich branch of the racist movement has slowly revealed to the broad public its open acceptance and friendship with Neo-nazi terrorists. All-in-all PEGIDA Munich rallies almost everyday and marches once a week. Neo-nazis now openly speaking at the microphone at the demonstrations were warmly welcomed participants during the past years.Openly positive referring to historical national-socialism is new – and finally leads in subsequence to PEGIDA Munich being undoubtely a Neo-nazi march. Some Munich newspapers have long drawn a picture of only some Neo-nazis participating and the rest being ‘normal citizens’.

Turkish Fascists

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With Erdogan installing an autocracy in Turkey, bombing Kurdish autonomous regions, plenty suicide bomb attacks and an attempted coup Turkish fascists held several rallies over the past year. In Munich this lead to violence several times. Also the followers of the so called Grey Wolves gathered together with other conservatives from the Turkish community after the attempted coup in Turkey.

AfD Bundesparteitag
Protests against meeting of AfD in Stuttgart
Roadblock gets sorrounded by police

As an answer to a shift in politics further to far-right antifascists mobilized to demonstrate against far-right AfD’s federal party congress in Stuttgart. More than four hundred people were arrested during the protest.

Neo-nazis riot on Mayday in Plauen, Saxonia
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Police uses water-cannons, peppersray and teargas to push back neo-nazis attacking counter protesting citizens and police forces.

The Neo-nazi party Der III. Weg held their yearly mayday rally 2016 in the town of Plauen in Saxonia. After half of the demonstration route Neo-nazis declared there demonstration to be ended and attacked police violently. After a short riot the situation calmed down and the Neo-nazis were allowed to march back to the train-station of the small town.

NOBORDERS demonstration at Brenner
Heavy clashes at 'Over the Fortress Europe' demonstration at Brenner
Clashes erupt between activists and police.

Austria announced to reintroduce border controls at the Brenner passage to Italy one of the main routes connecting Germany to Italy. To prevent this from being built activists from Italy, Austria and Germany gathered in front of the train-station at Brenner. After lighting pyro-technics and putting on gas-masks and helmets activists started marching towards the Italian-Austrian border. Riot police prevented this. Heavy riots on the train-tracks and also highway followed.

Situation for refugees in Athens and Greece
Refugee and supporters demonstrate through Athens
3000 people participated in a demonstration through inner-city Athens on June 16th demanding a borderless world and a better overall situation for refugees in Greece. City Plaza Hotel, self-organized refugee shelter, was leading the demonstration with a banner. Protest was very peaceful.

The whole year of 2016 the horrible situation for refugees fleeing war to Europe being stuck at the Greek-Macedonian border has been a topic in media. In June 24mmjournalism travelled to Greece to document the situation for refugees living in Greece and especially in the capital of Athens. After shooting some aerial footage and a photo-reportage about City Plaza Hotel, 24mmjournalism met people living in the port of Athens, people supporting refugees, refugees living in squats in Exarchia. Together with the Reflektierter Bengel media collective 24mmjournalism witnessed the eviction of the last leftovers of the refugee camp Idomeni in Northern Greece.

Shooting spree at OEZ shopping mall in Munich
Shooting OEZ Munich
Shooting OEZ Munich

On June 23rd Ali David S. went on a shooting spree at shopping mall OEZ in Munich. Hell broke lose. Rumors about shootings and killings all over Munich were spread via social media. At OEZ special forces took on a manhunt to find the shooter that executed himself some blocks off the mall complexe. The city of Munich was in a state of shock. Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the condolence ceremony.

Violence breaks out at an AfD election party
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Chris Ares trying to pull away banners.

In September 2016 the far-right party AfD managed for the first time to become part of a state government. Members of the party met in a restaurant. Antifascists gathered to protest. Neo-nazi rapper ‘Chris Ares’ attending the elections celebrations took on the counter protestors. After trying to kick a photographer of 24mmjournalism a fight started in front of the restaurant near Munich East. After several minutes antifascists left the site seeming shocked of the violence.Colleague Anne Wild documented the incident as the photographer was attacked:

TdDE 2016 – German Unification Day in Dresden
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Street blocked with banner.

On October 3rd the celebrations for the German Unification Day were held in Dresden. Neonazis disturbed the festivities and cussed at politicians attending. Antifascists rallied against the festivities and drew attention to situation at the European borders where thousands have drowned.

Refugee struggle protests

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Desperate refugees from across the country gathered in Munich to hold a protest camp. After being ignored by politicians they did a protest march to the center of migration and refugees in Nuremberg. As a reaction was still missing they decided to return to the protest camp and hold a hunger strike. The strike was evicted on November. Some managed to flee police and climb on trees. Special police arrested the activists in the tree.

Safe Aleppo

SOS-Aleppo demonstration in front of Reichstag in Berlin

The crimes against humanity have come to a sad new point in the end of 2016. Bombed and killed civilians could be seen in media across the world. To support those people and ask the german government to intervene people all over German gathered. In front of the german federal government’s building -Reichstag- in Berlin a rally was held under the motto ‘Safe Aleppo’

BerlinAttack
Armed police guard world’s largest christmas market in Nurnberg
Policemen stand at entrance of Hauptmarkt in Nuremberg equipped with machine pistol.

Even though not being in Berlin the terror attack probably conducted by an ISIS follower in the capital of Germany left 24mmjournalism shocked. All over Germany security forces were strengthened after the attacks. 24mmjournalism witnessed this in the end of December in Nuremberg. At the Christmas market police forces set up street blocks with cars and were stationed around the Hauptmarkt with machine pistols.

This little look back on the year past of course only reflects the year for the 24mmjournalism team. In hope our followers savor our work.

Michi
 -24mmjournalism administrator

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Protests against Unification Celebration in Dresden

On October 3rd the celebration of 26 years of german unity were held in Dresden. Motto of the celebration was ‚Building Bridges’. The celebration was characterized  by protests of very different types. Antifascists mobilized to remind people that nationalism and isolation, as Europe fortificates its borders against migrants, can not be a reason to hold a party. Neonazis and far-right groups mobilized to disturb the ceremony, as according to their opinion the german government is betraying the ‚Volk‘ and instrumentalises the so-called ‚migrants crisis‘ for populist far-right politics. After the bombing attacks just days before the ceremony and following islamist attacks across Europe one could see a high amount of security forces across the city.

Snipers, machine-pistols and concrete blocks
On October third Dresden hosts the german unification ceremony of 2016. Far right and far left groups mobilize against the party. PEGIDA disturb Merkel and Gauck leaving Frauenkirche at Neumarkt. Police is positioned on the roofs and across the city.
Sniper stationed on rooftop next to Neumarkt-

Wandering the so called ‚party-mile‘ in Dresden’s old-town an attentive visitor could easily spot the high amount of security forces on site. Snipers were stationed on the rooftops surrounding the festivities that were attended by politicians. The special forces were constantly checking the crowd of people passing by, also demonstrators against the festivities. Around the old town special police forces were also stationed on the ground. Equipped with MP-5 machine pistols policemen were standing in the streets and controlling entrances. Also private security forces were checking people entering the festivities. Concrete blocks were put onto streets and also small passages to prevent terrorist attacks as in Nizza this summer.

Gallery:

‚Ferries, not Frontex‘ – antifascists counter protests
Ferries not Frontex banner.
Ferries not Frontex banner.

Antifascists mobilized to remind visitors of the festivities and politicians that there are few reasons to party over the situation in Germany and Europe right now. Almost daily there are new media reports about racist attacks on refugees and so called minorities. Almost daily media reports about drowned migrants in the Mediterranean Sea or the few that barely manage to survive the flight. Far-right populist parties make use of racist stereotypes to gather new followers. Following a demonstration the night before, impressively activists displayed to visitors of the festivities how borders feel and how it feels if one cannot enjoy free movement. At 2 PM Activists blocked the Augustenbrücke that led directly to the festivities with a banner that stated:

‚Deutschland spricht von Brücken aber baut Grenzen‘

roughly translated:

‚Germany speaks about bridges, but builds borders.’

This banner referred to the motto of the celebration. Activists stopped visitors from entering the festivities. This form of protest lead to anger amongst many trying to cross the river Elbe and participate in the unification celebration. Many peaceful disturbances took place along the day. Coffins floated down the river representing people dying on boats trying to enter Europe. Activists did a ‚Die-In‘ next to the Bundeswehr. Spontaneous smaller demonstrations marched through the city. A video-message was played from the Non-Citizens’ protest at Sendlinger Tor in Munich. Many more actions took place that were collected on the website 3oct.net.

Hatred and loud disturbance – PEGIDA, militant neonazis and AfD
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Whilst AfD member speaks – neonazi with ‘HKN KRZ’ cap is greeted by comrades.

With Dresden being PEGIDA’s homezone and a strong militant neonazi scene announced protests against the festivities took place. At 9 AM the first PEGIDA followers gathered at Neumarkt to disturb the festivities. Whistles and Vuvuzelas were used. Amongst the mass: Stephane Simon, affiliated with LEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann and activists from all over Germany. Shortly after

Stephane Simon.
Stephane Simon.

24mmjournalism’s arrival to Dresden Neumarkt Stephane Simon started cussing at the team. He also repeated his announcement from his speech at PEGIDA Munich that after the soon end of the BRD ‚people like you‘ will have to leave the country like Thomas Mann did long time ago.

PEGIDAs whistling continued in front of the Semperoper. In the afternoon PEGIDA gathered close to Dresden Central Station. Götz Kubitschek announced the ‚second wave‘ is taking place from now on – referring to his manuscript. At the same time the most militant hooligans gathered with Tatjana Festering a little outside the city. Participants were wearing ‚HKN KRZ‘ caps, singer of hooligan band Kategorie C, Hannes Ostendorf, performed and many neonazi symbols were seen. An AfD city council member from Schwerin held a talk, clearly using neonazi-wording. The Identitarian movement participated in both rallies: PEGIDA Dresden and Tatjana Festerling’s demonstration at the Blaues Wunder.

Gallery of Blaues Wunder and PEGIDA disturbances in the morning:

The impression remaining: Many people from Dresden seem to have forgotten what a locked down border means. Many people participating in the rally do not see a problem to have the most militant hooligans amongst them. Lots of hatred against foreigners – and also press.

Neonazi party “Der III. Weg” rallies in Landshut [Picture Gallery]

On September 25 a little more than 20 activists of neonazi party “Der. III. Weg” gathered in Landshut to rally under the motto “Härtere Strafen für Kinderschänder!” (roughly translated: “Stronger punishment for child abusers”). Walter Strohmeier, Julia R. and an activist from Eastern-Bavaria held talks, preaching hatred on the “BRD judical system” and fantasizing about castration, long-term lockdown in prison and compulsory labor for “perverts”. One activist brought a child, exploiting it for the neonazi rally. According to police 500 people demonstrated against the neonazis.

Blockupy Protests Berlin 2016

On Friday September 2nd the Blockupy movement mobilized to Berlin to protest against labor-laws, austerity and capitalism. More then 1500 activists participated in creative protest all over the capital of Germany. At 7AM in the morning protests started around the ministry of work. Police seemed utterly overwhelmed and not able to handle the situation of activists pushing towards the ministry building. After some violent actions between police and demonstrators one group of activists blocked a street towards an entrance. Another group was forced to move in direction of the ministry of finance where the activists where held for more two hours. Both groups later joined.
In the so called “2nd wave” creative protest took place all over downtown Berlin. A group of activists decorated the jobcenter in Berlin, Wedding with chalk-spraypaint, colorful toilet-paper and a banner. On Berlin Alexanderplatz an international demonstration gathered in the afternoon to protest against the EU-Turkey deal on the deportation of refugees. The demonstration was very peaceful. A pillow fight was supposed to take place in the entry hall of Humbolt university. Police confiscated all pillows and the day of protests ended at 6:30 PM. More then 50 people where arrested on several claims. Tommorrow an anti-racist demonstration will follow.

Picture Gallery

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:

 

Refugees await in camp at the German-Austrian border to cross over

On Sunday a colleague and me visited the Austrian-German border near the town of Freilassing to document the situation of refugees here. As we arrived at the train-station of Freilassing – the first station after the Austrian-German border we found it almost completely empty. Some volunteers were waiting, prepared for the next refugees to arrive. Some policemen were searching a group of 5 young refugees that managed to cross the border and end up at the train-station. The border is walking distance from the train station – so we hiked there. From quite a distance we were able to see police controls similar as we experienced at the G7 summit last summer. Policemen and women were stopping trucks, looking into busses and controlling “suspicious” drivers. On the other side of the bridge the humanitarian situation seemed critical to me. Refugees await to cross the bridge. People sleep on the floor and in tents. Volunteers try to make the situation easier for refugees, hand out food, clothing and help with translations. Children played hockey when we were there while the Austrian military watches. Every now and then when another group is controlled by German police forces, movement starts and people gather on the bridge to be let through. Compared to pictures I have seen from a week ago the situation already got better – but still people are sleeping on the floor in horrible sanitarian conditions just because the German government decided to reinstate border controls and stop the train services to and from Austria.

My impressions from yesterday afternoon in Freilassing:

You can find an excerpt on GettyImages for licensure and the full story on Demotix.