Protests against G20 in Hamburg

On July 6th and 7th the leaders of the most powerful countries around the world gathered in Hamburg. Aim of the meeting was to connect the twenty leading industrial states and emergent countries under the motto ‚Gemeinsam mehr erreichen als allein’. The city of Hamburg was shattered by more then fifty demonstrations during the summit. Courts interdicted spontaneous gatherings of people. Nevertheless thousands tried to block G20 in Hamburg. Some of the heaviest riots and clashes in the past thirty years and one of the biggest police missions in german post-war history took place around the International Congress Center in Hamburg.

Before protest began activists already got in trouble with police as they tried to prevent demonstrators that travelled to Hamburg from setting up tents in parks. In the end several small campsites were errupted. Two days before the summit meeting, on the 5th a night-dance demo took place. Everything stayed very peaceful as people were raving through the streets. The summit still seemed quite a bit away. On Thursday the protest wave hit the city.

Welcome to Hell – Police escalates situation at Fischmarkt

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‘Welcome to Hell’ demonstration is dispearsed by police with water-cannons on Hafenstrasse.
On Thursday evening – starting with a concert – more than twenty-thousand people gathered at Fischmarkt. Die goldenen Zitronen, Neonschwarz and many more played music against G20. As the protestor gathered on Hafenstrasse some of the participants mummed themselves. According to Hartmud Dudde, police operations manager, known for commiting breach of the law for several times with his tactics, six-hundred participants were hiding their faces. This number published in a press conference on Sunday July 9th is very hard to verify and was used to legitimize a police intervention that left many hurt and at least one person heavily injured. Our team whiteness the intervention. Groups of people were dispersed throughout the area near the Hafenstrasse. One car and a roadblock were burning. The police escalation of the demonstration in still and moving images:

At night the situation calmed a little down. People were getting ready for the first day of the summit and the many protests against it.

Shut Down the Logistics of capital

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Front-banners of demosntration towards Hamurg harbour.
Early in the morning on July 7th the communist group ‚…Ums’s Ganze‘ organized a protest a little off the actual meeting. Activists met at the harbour to block goods from being transported into the container terminals. More then 500 parttook in this action. A huge traffic jam evolved and trucks did not reach the harbor on this route. On-site speakers said from the truck with a soundsystem that this is the exactly perfect spot, this is not an action against police or the harbour-workers, but a direct intervention in the stream of goods and therefore capital.

Color the Red-Zone

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Road block of VIP Shuttle bus.
Already early the morning several thousand gathered all across the city to disturb the meeting and block routes of delegations and politicians transported to the International Congress Center. On Twitter was reported that VIP shuttles had to turn around as they were blocked. Even in the afternoon every once and a while smaller roadblocks led to full stops of busses. At the same time in Hamburg-Altona militants took action. Several cars were burning and banks attacked. Police tweeted that a Molotov cocktail was thrown at officers. This could not be verified so far and is possibly false information.
In the afternoon approximately five-thousand demonstrators tried to disturb an event at the newly opened Elbphilarmonie in a so called ‚Second Wave‘. Spontaneously a large group moved throughout St. Pauli. At least one luxury building was attacked with stones. Police pushed back a mass of people that approached the concert hall with water cannons. Several police officers were hurt as rockets, bottles and stones hit. The crowd then spread throughout Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli.

Heavy Riots in Alternative Schanzenviertel

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‘Peace is not an option’
Towards 7 PM groups gathered around Neuer Pferdemarkt. Some of the heaviest riots Germany has seen in the past thirty years started. Street barriers were lit. At least four stores were loitered. Police was pushed back by militants with stones, pyrotechnics and iron bars. Police did not enter the district for more then three hours. Drunk people from bars in the area joined organized militant anticapitalists. This is the point where the protest and the mood completely changed. Drunk people attacked police with glass bottles, started filming themselves, taking selfies and posing. Police then called special forces trained for high-security arrests, terror events and tactical mission. Thus joined other police forces and a task force entered a house to arrest people on a roof. On video footage released today by police in a press screening police pretends the throw of a molotov can be seen, that did not explode. 24mmjournalism was on site as this supposively happened and we can not verify nor deny that the bottle that is thrown in the video from the rooftop was a molotov cocktail. Police also presented a steel ball that was supposively found stuck in the armor of a water cannon, that was involved pushing into the district Schanze. Officials justify the deployment of heaviy armed special forces with people on roofs shooting iron balls with slingshots. With more then six-hundred police men and women, some of them armored with riffles, tear-gas, armored trucks, and water-cannons police was able to clear the area around occupied theatre Rote Flora at approximately 2 AM. Rumors about evictions of the occupied social center spread on Twitter. Thus were incorrect. Little clashes continued for two more hours in the area around. The number of hurt demonstrators by brutal police forces is unknown. Paramedics on site told us they were not able to count, but it were many.

Photo and Video

Mass Demonstration

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Front banner of mass demonstration against G20
On Saturday ten thousands of people then gathered for a mass demonstration. Organizers spoke of more then 76.000 people participating. In the back of the demonstration that stayed relatively peaceful several groups that showed antisemitic signs marched. Amongst those BDS. The march ended in a concert with several punk bands playing.

Drunk People Attack Police

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Beer drinking, unmasked, blocking armoured police truck getting hit by water-cannon
After concerts ended on Saturday, near famous Millerntorstation, people moved towards the alternative Schanzenviertel again. Opposing the night before, the mood was really chill. People were drinking and hanging out. Then police started to arrest single people. Others already drunk started to throw bottles. Hour by hour the situation got more tense. Completely different then the night before, no organized groups started actions. Groups of mainly young men shouting swear-words attacked police.

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SEK with rifle.
Glass bottles were thrown. Water-cannons were used. A group of people tried to intervene and stepped in front of the water cannon with hands held up in the air. Drunks and unorganized rioters kept throwing bottles. This led to a further escalation of the situation. After action the night before with people attacking police from the roofs special forces were deployed again. SEK showed up with their brand new anti-terror truck Survivor. The military-equipped forces stood amongst drunks in front of Reithalle – in full gear with riffles etc – as the street was crowded and their deployment completely unnecessary they took off.
Later on Schulterblatt street drunks throwing bottles at police continued. Me and a freelance colleague were directly targeted by a group. I was also body-checked twice. The actions against police in the district continued for several hours.

Neo-nazis attack Alternative Bars

After a night of heavy riots neo-nazis from Northern Germany called for action to protect Germany. Eye-whitnesses told us a group of 15-50 attacked punk bars Onkel Otto, Kogge and at least another bar in the area around Hafenstrasse. The group could not be found by us in the early morning hours of July 9th.

Calm returned to the alternative district the next morning. Several unbearable and questionable things happened during the protest to colleagues working. Therefore some of the stories described below.

Press Freedom

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Journalists taking pictures of burning barricades at Schulterblatt – icon image
As usual at mass events and summit meetings the organizers set up a press center close to the meeting area. Journalists – also accredited our team – are able to work here, are offered free food, high-speed internet and most recent breaking news. Several critics were tweeted by colleagues: Workspaces were to few on the first day with 5000 journalists that signed up. On the second day colleagues started reporting that there accreditations were withdrawn. This concerned mainly journalists working on protests against the meeting.

The german federal bureau of investigation BKA handed out four-page lists with names of journalists to take away their pass. We did not attempt to enter the press center as the accreditation is utterly important for working without trouble by police on demonstrations against such events. Journalists’ unions and Reporters without Borders got involved with the process and are questioning the case. This is especially strange as the BKA even did not answer to public television ARD what the exact cause for the withdrawel was. Also on the streets the situation with police officers and press was very tense several times. Colleague Flo Smith reported that he and his TV team were directly attacked with the words ‚Fuck the Press’ by police – more to be read in an article by Huffington Post.

Our team was body-checked, cussed at and targeted with bottles whilst working on the night of the 8th. This did not happen during the heavy riots on the 7ths even though we were reported a camera-team of news channel N24 was attacked. As well as a reporter of taz-die tageszeitung:

Journalist Erik Marquadt was insulted antisemitic on the night of the 8th.

An unbearable situation for journalists that has do be brought to the public nd widely questioned throughout society.

Commentary

All in all to me the protest against the meeting seemed successfull. Plenty groups drew attention away from the meeting. Travels for delegations with bus to the center were at least delayed. In the public reception loitering will always take a big roll when talking about G20 in Hamburg. Especially the second night of riots though was not at all done by organized people, but simply drunks getting into stress with police. This takes away attention of the aims of the protest and leads to a criminalization. An historic protest weekend happened the past four days in the downtown of Hamburg – it will stay in people’s minds.

Aftermath

To present a little overview over the damage – some pictures of cleaning and spectators taking selfies next to broken windows, as well as journalists working in the area.

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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.

Day Seven in Athens – little retrospective view on the past week

After not ‘travel-blogging’ for five days I am back with a normal daily report.

Evicted camp Ekostation
On one of the tents refugees left a message.

The past days have been quite full of beautiful impressions, as well as shocking ones and fun moments. As we were driving to Thessaloniki we got the message from on-site that police started evicting the leftovers of self-established and -organized refugee camp ‘Ekostation’. We arrived on site when the eviction had basically been finished by police. We whitnessed the empty camp. Colleagues from reflektierter-bengel.de and me released a multimedia article: Camp Eviction at Macedonian Border

As we returned to Athens we had a small problem with a place to sleep. Chaotic as usual we forgot to book an AirBnB, but found one last shot. Back in Exarchia I have been told by an activist I interviewed on his work here (Article will follow)  that the district had faced several raids by police against squads during the past days. The people we had food with in their squad are also very worried about what police will do in the next days. We will follow the situation and will try to catch police as they are raiding.

Attacks by Anarchists out of Polytechniko University
Policeman standing in front of burning busses.

On Wednesday night anarchists conducted a militant action against two busses in front of the occupied university. As we were around the corner and could here the tear-gas grenades being fired and Molotow-cocktails being thrown we dropped by and took some pictures. My gallery from that night can be found here:

 Police in fight with anarchists at Polytechniko

Yesterday colleagues and I first visited City Plaza Hotel to hand out at the bar there and talk to some staff of their media team. We want to interview either refugee or supporter on the situation in the hotel right now. This will follow today hopefully. The City Plaza Hotel was holding a demonstration in the afternoon (Article following – four pictures below).

At night we hung out a little at Exarchia Square always checking if there were maybe once again fights between anarchists and police.

One thing I have to say after seven days in the wonderful city of Athens, you never know where the day leads. Planning does hardly ever work.

Stay tuned for a lot more to come -even though I am flying home tommorow.

 

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.

Heavy clashes at ‘Over the Fortress Europe’ demonstration at Brenner

Approximately 700 protestors gathered at Brenner to demonstrate against fortress Europe and border controls. The demonstration ended in heavy clashes between anarchists and police. Austria is planning to reintroduce controls at the Italian-Austrian border to decrease the influx of migrants that flee towards northern Europe.

Photo Reportage

Neonazi demonstration in Plauen errupts in heavy clashes on Mayday

On Mayday approximately 700 neo-nazis rallied through Plauen for a ‘national-revolutionary working class’. At least 800 participated in a counter-demonstration. Counter-protesters were captured by police stopping the demonstration and leading to smaller clashes. Neonazis started simultaneously sending pyrotechnics into citizens protesting next to the route and police forced them to turn around. Water-cannons and teargas were used to stop the riot. The facist mob then rallied back to Upper-Plauen railroad station.

Photoreport