After the Trump administration announced to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement the world’s attention turned to the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Environment in Bologna in June 2017. Activists used this chance to gather and protest against the G7, ecological crimes and to remind that our environment needs protection. Also activists from Hamburg participated and invited people to join the protest against the G20 meeting in July, as well as the ‘Ende Gelände’ protest in August (we will report on both). More then 500 activists joined the protest in Bologna that stayed very peaceful.
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.
More then 10000 people gather to protest against the AfD party meeting in Cologne. On April 22nd 2017 activists set up road blocks in the morning to make it harder for participants to reach the Maritim Hotel where the meeting is held until April 23rd. Police pushed into roadblocks several times and arrested some activists. Party members were guided through counter-protest or had to enter the blocked area through some smaller roads.
At 11AM a huge counter-demonstration was held under the slogan “Solidarität statt Hetze”. A vast mass of citizens joined protest that stayed relatively peaceful. The only unpeaceful events we whitnessed were a broken window of a bank and a bottle that was thrown at a McDonalds restaurant.
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
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
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
After 11 days of hiking the Non-Citizen’s protest march arrives in Nuremberg. The march followed a camp at Sendlinger Tor in Munich that was pointing out the still bad situation for refugees already in Germany, but also demanding free movement for all people and options for a save passage to Europe for all people fleeing. The BAMF is the german Federal Office for Migration and Refugees which also organizes deportations.
Route of Protest March
The route taken by the non-citizens involved more than 230 kilometers of hiking, passing by bigger cities of Bavaria like Freising, Landshut, Regensburg, Neumarkt and Nuremberg. The activists participating held rallies and demonstrations along the way. Pictures and videos can be watched on https://refugeestruggle.org/ .
Arrival in Nuremberg
The group arriving in Nuremberg seemed in a binary state of mind. On one hand activists seemed eager to reach their goal to rally against asylum politics in Germany. On the other hand the group also seemed exhausted from walking a that long distance in rainy weather.
Picture Gallery of Beginning and End of Protest March
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
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 …’
‘… 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
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.
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.
Following protests in the years of 2013 at Rindermarkt and 2014 at Sendlinger Tor (24mmjournalim reported), [and many other actions] non-citizens have gathered once again at Sendlinger Tor to protest against the situation for people asking for asylum in Germany. Approximately 70 refugees are protesting in downtown Munich right now. Munich’s far-right has shown up several times at the protest camp, held rallies and pegida has marched past the camp.
Protest Camp and Goals
Six pavillions, pallettes, an info-table, food, water, sleeping mats and bags. As one gets off the Tramway at Sendlinger Tor in the city center of Munich the protest camp can easily be spotted. Right next to the fountain, non-citizens try to deliver a message. “We are human beeings!” – as Adeel (one of movement’s speakers) also loudly stated at the spontaneous demonstration on Tuesday September 13th – gallery below. The camp emerged out of a demonstration on September 7th – Thomas Bergmann reported. On the 7th day at Sendlinger Tor, Refugee Struggle for Freedom published a statement:
“Wir sind hier um Bleiberecht zu erlangen, in der öffentlichen Wahrnehmung zu sein, um mit Politiker*innen zu sprechen, Verbündete zu bekommen, sodass wir als große Masse auftreten können, um so die Asylgesetze zu verändern. …”
“We are here to gain the right to stay, to be in public perception, to talk to politicians, gain supporters, so we can rise to change asylum laws …” [roughly translated]
-Refugee Struggle for Freedom
Life at Sendlinger Tor
Non-citizens and supporters of the movement work together to make Sendlinger Tor a place to hold a camp. Pavillions were set up in the middle of the first night. Food is delivered on a regular basis – cooked close to the camp. Supporters stay over night to help in case help is needed. The – right now – turned off fountain has evolved to a place where people hang out, make music and hold meetings to discuss how protest should go on. “In general the situation is ok”, Adeel told me. Still goods are needed. Even on Saturday night – 24mmjournalism stayed to watch the situation and understand what spending the night at Sendlinger Tor means – there were still people without sleeping bags and mats. Some protestors sleep on the bare ground – only wrapped in banners and clothing. In case you want to support and find out what goods are needed right now – ask at the info-table in front of the camp. As there were heavy rainfalls during the time of the protest the camp has been made safe against bad weather. Further impressions from the camp at night:
Munich’s far-right scene reacts
As expected Munich’s far-right and neonazi scene has reacted. On Saturday September 10th Michael Stürzenberger (failed local politician, Die Freiheit, pi-news) showed up and started filming in the middle of the camp with his “cameraman”. In a video published to his YouTube channel Stürzenberger states that he wanted to report as an unbiased journalist and got attacked by left-extremists as he wandered through the camp. Non-citizens and supporters seem to have reacted and expelled him from the demonstration. Also an article by him showed up on PI-News. The comments section of the article makes one shudder. Openly some users ask to do a “drive by and warmly remove the camp” – following words about molotov-cocktails. Those words seem especially dangerous, as refugee housings have been set on fire through the past year all over Germany. Below a collection of the worst, most racist and filled with hatred comments:
Lukas Bals that has been in media reports recently for causing trouble at the AfD election party, as well as Robert Andreasch’s talk at the Eine-Welt-Haus, was also spotted close to the camp according to eyewhitnesses. A gardener watering the plants poured water over sleeping bags as reported by Refugee Struggle for Freedom on Twitter:
— refugee struggle (@refugeestruggle) 12. September 2016
On Monday night after the local PEGIDA branch marched 13 well-known participants of the racist rally showed up a Sendlinger Tor. Amongst them: Rolf H. known for violent attacks on journalists and Heinz Meyer, leader of the regional PEGIDA movement. On the next day convicted neonazi terrorist Karl-Heinz Statzberger and hooligan Petra K. showed up and handed out flyers with the headline “Asylflut Stoppen!”. The flyers are printed by neonazi-party “Der III. Weg”- Statzberger and K. are both affiliated with the party.
— 24mmjournalism (@24mmjournalism) 13. September 2016
After all it can be mentioned: Racist resentments can be noticed on site – people walking by shake their heads and cuss at refugees. Neonazis show up at the rally and hand out flyers and far-right “journalists” walk through the camp to write articles which are later commented with call-ups for acts of violence and murder.
By now neo-nazis have gathered close to the camp at Sendlinger Tor during heavy rainfalls. Local PEGIDA leader Heinz Meyer joined their protest. Gallery:
One day later PEGIDA marched passed the camp and will again on September 26.
The Struggle Continues
Although this all does not look like a good prospect, activists of Refugee Struggle for Freedom say they will not stop to fight until they gain the rights of basic human beings in Germany. Until their voices will be heard. This could clearly be felt at the spontaneous demonstration that was held on Tuesday night, as well as the demonstration through inner city Munich held some days later. Picture gallery:
The protest will continue – at least until Semptember 30th. The city has permitted the camp until that day. 24mmjournalism will continue to report about the protest and update this article