Community against repression

Community against repression

Police presence at the G20 summit, July 2017. Photo: Thomas Kuhnert/CC BY-SA 4.0

Protests against tightening of right to demonstrate in wake of G20 proceedings extend beyond left-wing scene

Approximately 3000 people from all over the country gathered in Hamburg on Saturday afternoon under the motto Community Resistance – Solidarity against all Repression. The occasion was the start of the so-called Rondenbarg trial on 3. December before the Hamburg regional court.

The procedure is named after a road in Hamburg’s industrial area, where in the early morning of 7 a.m. the first inspection flights were carried out. July 2017, police broke up a demonstration planning disruptions of the then G20 meeting, which was meeting in Hamburg, Germany. There was massive resistance to this in the population, not only in left-wing circles.

But for the mayor of Hamburg at the time, Olaf Scholz, the holding of the unpopular summit was a special concern. Thus he wanted to prove that Hamburg can play in the league of world metropolises. Therefore he wanted to enforce the summit with a large police force. Although there are many documented examples of police violence, the SPD’s designated candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, claims to this day that there was none during the summit days.

That is why there were hardly any trials against police officers for police violence. The fact that more than three years after the summit the series of trials against the opponents is now beginning, many of whom were themselves injured by police violence, has ensured that the protest has increased again.

Rough number of participants

This is shown by the unexpectedly rough number of participants of the demonstration in Hamburg. Initially only 1000 people were registered. The fact that there were almost three times as many demonstrators in the middle of the Corona winter was probably not expected even by the organizers. As the slogans on the banners showed, mainly the activist spectrum of the superparliamentary and anti-fascist left was on the street.

But especially in the back rows there were also older people present. Trade unionists, especially from North Rhine-Westphalia, had also come to Hamburg. Schlieblich, some of the organized Verdi youth from the state had been arrested during the summit days and are now facing trial in part.

Warning against tightening of the breach of the peace paragraph

In addition, many civil society organizations had also supported the cause of the demonstration. They oppose that with "Judge right" the trespassing paragraph could be tightened up. Schlieblich, the first defendants in the Rondenbarg trial are not themselves accused of any criminal acts.

On the contrary, they are accused of having acted in accordance with the "Along went – along caught" to have gone along with a demonstration in which there were also militant actions on the part of the G20 opponents. Criminal liability for breach of the peace does not presuppose either the participation in the act of violence or the presence of a crowd at the time of the act of violence.

Demonstrators were thus treated like football hooligans, to whom a corresponding ruling of the Federal Prosecution Court referred, which the Hamburg prosecutor’s office uses as a basis for its charges. Several speakers at Saturday’s protest demonstration objected to the fact that left-wing political protest was thus not only criminalized, but also depoliticized.

However, the term "Hooligans" has often been used in an undifferentiated way to attack a subculture that is not compatible with the commercialization of soccer. Now, not for the first time, the concept of hooliganism is being extended to political protests that do not fall within the bourgeois prescribed regulations. However, this had legal consequences for the first time, if the Hamburg prosecutor got away with it.

Lessons from the protest against the Links-unten trial

However, that is not clear yet for a long time. There are also circles in the judiciary that do not agree with this. Therefore, the prere of a strong movement can definitely make a difference, if it goes beyond a narrow left scene. This seems to be the case in Hamburg, as was shown at the demonstration on Saturday in Hamburg.

Unlike the protests against the banning of Indymedia-Linksunten, where it was not possible and was not actively desired by parts of the solidarity groups to address circles that do not agree with the content on the online portal but oppose the shutdown because they see freedom of the press threatened.

In the Bund "Community resistance" on the other hand, there are also groups that are not part of the radical left-wing scene, but still oppose the restriction of basic rights. The course of the demonstration in Hamburg did not weaken this alliance. It proceeded without violence. Only a few bollards were lit, even in the more autonomous part many were content with burning sparklers and did without bollards, which mainly produce a lot of noise and smoke.

In the block of the Interventionist Left they had thought up a particularly audience-friendly presentation, in which they circled the slogans on the banners with a wreath of lights. This was reminiscent of Christmas, but also had the practical effect that the slogans were still recognizable in the darkness that was soon to fall and then often made it into the press photos. Here, too, one can see that one is interested in the communicability of one’s own contents.

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