‘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.

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Deportation to Afghanistan from Munich – Protestors Gather at Munich Airport

Today the so far third deportation flight from Germany to Afghanistan was held. Between fifty to sixty people According to officials and press reports 18 men, together with police forces, were put on a charter plane of Meridiana. The plane left the spot at the airfield approximately at 9.30 PM. The procedure was conducted under exclusion of media and the broad public. Colleagues with strong tele-photo lenses were not able to display the faces of the humans transported back to Afghanistan with this flight. Protestors gathered in the area between Terminals 1 and 2. At least 350 participated in the rally and demonstrated through the terminals.

Munich BAMF Offices  Closed for the Past Weeks ?
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Archive Picture – BAMF in Nuremberg guarded by police during demonstration of Refugee Struggle

Talking to activists supporting refugees that want to stay anonymous 24mmjournalism was told that the Munich local office of the BAMF – ministry of migration- has been closed during the past two weeks. This was one of the first times one could expect something like this flight happening from the Bavarian capital. Asylum seekers were not able to reach the office or had to go to Nuremberg to have their papers either renewed or checked.
Activists also told us that the last pick-ups for the deportation flight happened in the late afternoon of February 22nd.

Deportation from Terminal F
Germany deports to Afghanistan from Munich airport - activists rally at Munich airpor
Entrance to Terminal F blocked by police.

According to a federal police spokesman the procedure for people getting deported is equal to the procedure for a normal passenger – besides they are not flying by their own will. Papers are reviewed luggage is checked, people go through security and then board the plane. This all happens behind closed doors. No possibility to accompany the situation as a journalist. To enter high security terminal F at Munich airport one had to show boarding passes checked by police officers already far in advance. The entrance was blocked by police forces with dogs on site.

Even though too late to take a picture we can report from having a look at other photographers pictures that the plane was parked so the boarding took place on the other side of what can be documented from outside the airport area. This makes the whole process seem distanced. The ones deported have no face. On February 23rd we tried to get a hold of press officials of Meridiana. The Italian airline seems to have conducted the deportation flight as pictures displayed in mayor german news magazines such as Spiegel Online suggest. Trying to get in contact with the airline asking on their Facebook Fanpage for contact to a press official they blocked 24mmjournalism’s reporter:

We will keep trying to reach their press office and if we get a statement this might answer our questions:

Did you conduct a flight deporting 18 male asylum seekers to Kabul on February 22nd from Munich?

How much did the german government pay you for this flight?

Does your company stand behind the deportations and sees no ethical problem in this controversial discussed topic?

Why did you block our reporter on your Facebook page?

Do you think this will damage the way your company is seen by the public?

Will you conduct more deportations if the german government pays you?

The company has answered 24mmjournalism’s reporters e-mail sent, after trying to get in contact via different social media channels and a phone number handed out by their call-center, stating:

Dear Michael,

Meridiana works with many brokers. No information on services performed for third parties is divulged.

For your kind information, we didn’t get any phone call or email from you, before your one below.

Best regards

Protest in the Area of Munich Airport

Germany deports to Afghanistan from Munich airport - activists rally at Munich airpor

Several political groups mobilized for a demonstration in the late afternoon just before the deportation would take place. At least 350 participated in the rally. First speaches by refugees were held and then a demonstration throughout the area of the airport followed. Several passengers looked surprised as they did not know what was going on while they were boarding their flights. One hissed passing by: “Put them on the plane too!”.

All in all February 22nd marks a sad mark in german history with deportations to a war-zone departing from Munich. After deportations in December, January and now February one can guess that this will become a monthly thing to happen.

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 – Neonazis climb Feldherrnhalle and openly displayed Racism

As every Monday PEGIDA gathered once again on October 10th in Munich. Less then one hundred participated came together. Speeches were a mixture of openly displayed racism, confused attempts to explain that Ukrainian Church architecture is more beautiful than protestant and islamic and a relativization of Donald Trumps sexism. Furthermore a small group of neonazis was able to get into the Feldherrnhalle. Rolf H. – known for violent attacks on journalists – prevented a video-documentation of the scene. Convicted neonazi terrorist Karl-Heinz Statzberger led anti-foreign slogans. Alderman Karl Richter marched – after speaking – at the front banner.

Neonazis once again climb Feldherrnhalle
Dan Eising, Petra K. and comrade climb Feldhernnhalle.
Dan Eising, Petra K. and comrade climb Feldhernnhalle.

Almost exactly one year ago, a group of neonazis managed to enter the historically charged Feldhernhalle during a PEGIDA rally and shouted: ‘Hasta la vista, Antifascista’. 24mmjournalism documented the incident. The video was shown in the evening news on BR. What happened was even topic in Munich’s city council.

Dan Eising, Petra K. and comrade climb Feldhernnhalle.
Dan Eising, Petra K. and comrade climb Feldhernnhalle.

Almost one year later some of the same neonazis tried to stage a similar situation. Dan Eising, that has also spoken at PEGIDA Munich, Petra K. and a comrade entered the building during the rally on October 10th. Police did not prevent this even though the group’s plans were more than obvious just minutes after their arrival.  Civil police arrived relatively soon on site and guided the group off the building before they had a chance to pose. Whilst this was happening photo- and videojournalists were blocked from documenting the situation. Not by police, but by a a very well known violent PEGIDA participant. A long list of violent acts against press photographers, but as well against counter protest draws a red line through Rolf H.’s actions during rallies. Recently he was convicted in Nuremberg for giving a colleague a headbutt. He has also a journalist and is well known for preventing documentary and journalistic work during rallies with a flag. Today he pushed over a colleague and well documented in this picture blocked journalists from reaching the site of action:

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Rolf H. prevents photo- and videojournalists from documenting neonazis entering the Feldhernnhalle.

Police did not intervene, but watched.

Racism and Neonazi Lead at PEGIDA Munich
At the front banner: Karl Richter
At the front banner: Karl Richter
Karl Richter BIA Munich alderman holds talk.
Karl Richter BIA Munich alderman holds talk.

This weeks speaker at PEGIDA Munich – also once again – alderman Karl Richter, that is part of the city council for the racist ‘BIA’. This so called ‘citizen’s initiative’ is run by neonazi party NPD and has preached hatred against foreigners and people seeking asylum for the past years. After his rather short speech he joined the march at the front-banner. The demonstration led to the place where Non-Citizens had held a protest camp for four weeks, before starting a protest march to Nuremberg. PEGIDA held a rally mid-way at Sendlinger Tor before marching back to Odeonsplatz. Speakers were not set up, but 24mmjournalism was still able to hear what Heinz Meyer and Karl Richter said.

PEGIDA Munich leader Heinz Meyer speaks.
PEGIDA Munich leader Heinz Meyer speaks.

Richter undermined how important it is to him that nationalist resistance ist organized, as well as the fact that the turn PEGIDA Munich has taken makes him feel very comfortable amongst the group. Heinz Meyer that earlier spoke about Ukranian church-architecture surpassing protestant or muslimic church architecture by far – which seems very confused – displayed his racism openly as rarely heard. This statement was made by Meyer, regarding refugees protesting:

‘… Ich weiß nicht, was diese Neger (sic!) hier wollen, es hat sie keiner eingeladen! …’

roughly translated:

‘… I don’t know what these niggers (sic!) are looking for here, nobody invited them! …’

This completes a picture of a PEGIDA Munich leader filled with hatred and racism once again. This also perfectly in the picture that could be witnessed during the march – as tweeted by 24mmjournalism convicted neonazi terrorist Karl-Heinz Statzberger once again took the lead today.

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Convicted neonazi terrorist Karl-Heinz Statzberger taking the lead screaming anti-foreign and neonacistic slogans.

Counter protest repeatedly was blocked from getting close to the PEGIDA rally. All in all Munich does not leave a nice impression on this cold Monday October 10th.

Small Videoreport by Colleague SPICY

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.

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.

Non-Citizen Protest at Sendlinger Tor in Munich

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
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“We are human beeings!”

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
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Pavillions are set up in the middle of the night.

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
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Michael Stürzenberger with ‘cameraman’ / DieFreiheit activist.

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:

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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:

 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.

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.

UPDATE

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