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.

Heavy Riots in Paris after Presidential Election

On April 23rd the first round of the eleventh election of the Fifth Republic of France was held. Polls suggested several different possibilities who could reach the finals. With 93 percent of all constituencies counted Macron and LePen will run for a final. They are both closely followed by Fillon and Mélenchon.

Riots as First Polls are released

Demonstrators gathered at night in front of the opera at Place de la Bastille in the center of Paris. As soon as the first statistics were released and Macron and LePen were leading protestor occupied the Place de la Bastille. The protest was announced with the name ‘Nuit des Barricades’ – Night of the Barricades. After some protestors ripped big peaces of wood from a construction site in the middle of the square police came close. They surrounded a part of the group protesting. One girl was pushed by a policeman and was injured seriously at the throat and bleeding. A big group split off to rally through the area around Place de la Bastille. This group of maybe two-hundred built roadblocks, smashed bank widows and attacked police car. As the group returned to Place de la Bastille riots kind of ended for a moment.

Later at night some clashes were also happening at Place de la Republique where another group of people gathered. Police deploayed tear-gas.

In an area a little north of the protest two cars were set in fire.

All in all the fact that LePen made it to the finals is a bad sign for France and all of Europe. People seem very angry and disappointed by the fact that Macron and LePen are going for the finals. Protest might continue on April 24. Check our blog for new info.

PEGIDA Munich March 6th – Spraypainted Swastika & Thirteen Arrests

On March 6th the Munich branch of the racist PEGIDA movement gathered for a rally on Karlsplatz, Status in the city-center of Munich. Only 40 participants had come to join the protest. PEGIDA Munich has already shown in the past that they have no problem with confessing neo-nazis amongst them. A swastika was freshly spray-painted only a few meters off the demonstration. Opponents were arrested for approaching a group of neo-nazis standing a little off the rally.

Thirteen Arrests

Minutes after the PEGIDA rally began a group of neo-nazis that attend the demonstrations on a very regular basis showed up. Instead of joining the rally surrounded by a cage the group stood a little off. Soon the neo-nazis were discovered by counter-protestors. Those then approached with banners and shouted slogans. As the groups got into contact three of the neo-nazis pushed into the banners. Police forces intervened. Thirteen opponents were arrested and charged with breach of the peace. The neo-nazis were accompanied to the PEGIDA rally. This is especially precarious because members of exact this group have run into counter-protests of PEGIDA with banners several time. This led to clashes.

Freshly Spraypainted Swastika

Just minutes later two journalists discovered a freshly spray-painted swastika near were the neo-nazi group stood earlier. The paint was still wet. After reporting this to police officers standing by the two journalists were searched for spray cans. In a later given statement by press officer Markus Da Gloria Martins this lead to a discharge of the two. The swastika was later-on removed. During the same time the group of neo-nazis participated in the rally. Only one hour later two of them were controlled. If this search and interrogation is in connection to the clash or the spray-painting is unknown.

Short reportage about March 6th at PEGIDA Munich

All in all a freshly spray-painted symbol of hatred close to a PEGIDA rally seems very revealing.

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’

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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

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

Demonstration against Bavarian ‘Integration Law’ in Munich

On Saturday October 22nd more than 1800 people gathered in Munich to rally against the so called ‘Integration law’ that has been drafted by the Bavarian conservative party CSU and will worsen the situation for refugees. The participants of the demonstration were a potpourri of labor unions, parties and political groups. After smoke grenades were launched and paint bombs were thrown Munich police forces violently tried to split the mass of demonstrators injuring more then fifty people according to paramedics on site.

Non-citizen’s participate in rally fighting for their rights

Protest against New German Integrationlaw in Munich - Police Violence Errupts
Refugee Struggle block.
After non-citizen’s organizing themselves as Refugee Struggle for Freedom held a protest camp and –march to Nuremberg during the past two months, the group participated in the demonstration on Saturday. Several times sit-ins and choreographies were performed.

Violence erupts after smoke grenades and paint bombs

Protest against New German Integrationlaw in Munich - Police Violence Errupts
Paint on police helmet.
At Sendlinger Tor antifascist activists according to reports pulled a banner above their heads, launched smoke grenades and paint bombs. Police forces on site tried to split the rally and separate the demonstration. According to news reports six people were arrested.

Pictures taken by colleague Robert Andreasch during escalation:

Paramedics on site told 24mmjournalism after the demonstration that they had to treat more then fifty people with injuries. The types of injuries varied: At least 35 times the paramedics treated irritations due to pepper spray, 2 possibly broken hands, 2 head injuries and some minor lesions. This is the highest number of hurt people on a rally in Munich for at least one year. The paramedics’ statement can be found on their website: http://actionmedic089.jimdo.com/aktuelles

Paint attack performed on SPD Munich headquarter?

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Entrance to SPD headquarter.
Passing by the german social-democratic parties’ headquarter one could notice neon-pink, black and purple color splashes across the buildings glass facade. It seems like activists conducted a paint attack on Munich SPD‘s headquarter. One can suspect that the reason for this attack might be the participation of the SPD in the rally even though the party agreed on the draft of the Integration Law.

After the rally ended riot police forces went into the mass of demonstrators listening to speeches on Odeonsplatz several times causing chaos and confrontation. To support activists incarcerated some demonstrators held a spontaneous rally in front of the Munich police department’s headquarter. Also here riot police forces violently arrested at least one person. All of this is a new level of escalation during a labor unions’ demonstration in Munich.

Picture Gallery

PEGIDA Munich Marches towards Non-Citizen’s Protest Camp

After the racist PEGIDA movement started their weekly demonstration last week just across the street from the non-citizen’s protest camp at Sendlinger Tor, this week the group gathered at Stachus. With less than one hundred participants the group seems to keep losing followers. They announced to march towards Sendlinger Tor, hold a rally there and march back to Stachus.

Speeches at PEGIDA Munich
PEGIDA marches during Oktoberfest - police violence errupts at rally on the way
Speaker ‘Tobi’

This week speaker‚Tobi‘, Heinz Meyer and another person held a speech.  So called ‘Tobi’s’ talk was lacking information, but was filled with slogans such as ‚Merkel muss weg‘ and similar theses shouted during the weekly PEGIDA marches. He also declared

‘… Der Islam kommt aus der Wüste und dahin gehört er auch zurück …’

roughly translated:

‘… Islam comes from the desert, that’s where Islam should go back to. …’

Tobi stated also his positive feelings about the Identitarean movement and their actions in and around Munich. Head of the local PEGIDA movement Heinz Meyer and recent participant in a rally against non-citizens of neonazi party ‚Der. III. Weg‘ at Sendlinger Tor, also had a short talk. He stated –as tweeted by 24mmjournalism :

‚… Ich mag einfach keine Muslime …  besonders Afghanen mag ich nicht … ‚

roughly translated: … I simply do not like muslims … I especially dislike Afghanes … ‚

Police violence at half-way rally
PEGIDA marches during Oktoberfest - police violence errupts at rally on the way
Pulled off the site at the throat after peaceful protest –  later gasping for air

As the demonstration marched towards Sendlinger Tor and the refugee protest camp, some people tried to get onto the route. At Sendlinger Tor a cage of fences was set up for the PEGIDA movement to rally – just across the street from the non-citizen’s protest camp. Minutes before the demonstration reached the cage antifascists counter-protestors approached to state their mischief about the rally. Police immediately put on helmets and violently pushed counter-protestors away from the cage. People were neither mummed nor in any kind violent. Then a police officer commanded to push the people further back. Some persons tried to leave the scene due to the high aggression shown by police officers – with helmets and beating sticks pulled out. Two officers grabbed one person. He immediately lifted his hands stating: ‚ I surrender.‘ – probably hoping to be treated normally. Not letting him get up the riot police officers  pulled him away from the group at the head. Then he fell to the ground next to a small shop. The person was coughing and desperately gasping for air. Police officers on-site told 24mmjournalism that the ‚suspect‘ did not wish an ambulance to be called. 24mmjournalism later talked to a surgeon that pointed out that pulling away a person at the throat can lead to throwing up and aspirating if the patient is not treated in the right way. Twenty minutes later an ambulance arrived. The person was then taken into custody according to reports by colleagues.

Picture Gallery

All of this draws an ugly picture of police force used against peaceful demonstrators – especially as media is focused on Munich due to the annual held Oktoberfest. PEGIDA returned to it’s starting point during that time.