May 28th 2007, Heiligendamm

- ASEM-G8 Protest in Hambug
- Ticker-HH 28.05.07 english
- Anti-G8 protesters clash with police in Hamburg
- German Federal State Prosecution Supports Escalation of G8 Protests
- G8: On German media coverage

ASEM-G8 Protest in Hambug

5,000 people march in Hamburg against the ASEM and G8
Energy to protest the G8 grows with preperatory march in Hamburg. Today there was a large march Against the European Union economics ministers and Asian economics ministers from ASEM.

The march gathered at 12:00 and police were all around. The march was permitted and had been organized by the Autonomen or radical "black block" style activists. There had been good work with other groups and thousands of other people came as well. When the route was all settled with police the march started. Sound vans made constant announcements and kept us informed about what was happening. They also played music to get us pumped up.

The march had 4,000-6,0000 participants and there were up to 5,000 cops. So the odds were not good of getting away with much. The march was surrounded on all side by a wall at least two thick of riot police. Dozens of water cannon tanks and armored personnel carries with bulldozer blades stood by.

The march was led by a "black block" of over 1,0000. In Germany it is illegal to cover your face but everyone dressed in black with hoods, hats and sunglasses.

Police controlled the rate of the march but the marchers jumped and ran for bits and had fun. Several times flares or fireworks were shot up. At one point police tried to squeeze the march and were resisted. They peppersprayed the crowd on a street called Peper-something. The march continued and was stopped by water cannons in the road several times but then went on again. There were also stops for speeches.

The organizers finally decided to end the march early as a protest of police tactics. There had been arrests and other harassment. The march began to disperse but cops blocked the street. People tried to break through then eventually sat in the street. Others left through spaces at the sides. Several more arrests were made.

Many people headed back to the Rota Flora social center. Eventually hundreds outside built barricades. Hundreds of cops came and this led to several hours of minor barricades and some thrown objects and cops blocking streets. The police blasted with their water cannon tanks. By 8:00 the situation was calm again it seems.

Indymedia timeline: http://de.indymedia.org/2007/05/178833.shtml

mainstream German news with pictures: http://www1.ndr.de/nachrichten/asem/asembilder2_org-asemindex2.html


Ticker-HH 28.05.07 english

Today is the day of the international demonstration against the ASEM summit in Hamburg. After a wide international Mobilisation and Court Appeals against the route and the organisers the demonstration starts fom Millerntorplatz , moves on along Reeperbahn, St. Pauli Fischmarkt, Hafenstraße, Baumwall to the Rödingsmarkt. The police protects the city centre with massive presence, media reports that appr. 4000-5000 police are in Hamburg today.

* 18:55 In Lippmannstraße reports of several arrests. Police stops and checks identity of people around Rote Flora.
* 18:46 a car with deligates was stopt by appr. eight activists in city centre (Bergstr/Mönckebergstr) One person got arrested for makeing photografs of the police. city centre is quiet now, situation around Rote Flora is still not relaxed.
* 18:00 police uses water cannons at the Rote Flora
* 17:54 In front of the Flora people are moving fences on the street, a fire is burning.
* 17:53 The Rote Flora (Convergence Centre) closes its doors because of the massiv police presence in the area
* 17:47 Ca. 300-400 cops at Neuer Pferdemarkt with water cannons & tanks
* 17:40 Another arrest near station Reeperbahn. Infront of the Rote Flora 200 people gather.
* 17:37 11 police cars at Pferdemarkt, cops walk towards Rote Flora.
* 17:18 Most people move towards Karolinenviertel.
* 17:15 Fsk: the demonstration is scattered between St.Pauli und Sternschanze, the police as well, which moved more forces into the area because of the confusing situation.
* 17:06 between Ludwig-Erhardt-Straße and Millerntor a new demonstartion is formed, cars are demaged, traffic signs destroyed. one policeman drew a gun. people are on the way to Sternschanze.
* 16:48 FSK reports that most of the people are moving towards Millerntorplatz now. Some incidents between police and smaller groups were reported from Ludwig-Erhardt-Straße. In direction harbour people are able to move freely.
* 16:43 The legal team confirms that the demonstration is partly penned and it is hard to leave.
* 16:34 The police provocates and tries to force people to leave the demonstration into a specific direction which is not possible (because of police lines)
* 16:20 the organisers of the demo declared the end of it because of constant poliuce provocation. there was another smoke bomb and radio FSK reports that the demo is penned.
* 16:02 demonstration is at Rödingsmarkt15:35 police briefly penned some people at the end of the demonstration. nobody arrested.
* 15:30 Uhr the demonstration is split up into two parts. the front part is at the Baumwall allready while the other is at the Cap San Diego (a ship in Hamburg harbour).
* 15:05 the demonstration moves on towards Rödingsmarkt.
* 14:45 The demonstration arrives at Landungsbrücken (St.Pauli) and makes an interim stop for speaches.
* 14:19 after a smoke bomb was thrown the demonstration is still in front of the squatted Hafenstrasse-buildings. seperate sources speak of 6000 people.
* 14:13 the demonstration is in the Hafenstraße. Police walks in front and at the sides of it in 3-4 rows.
* 14:02 one arrest is reported.
* 13.53 police stops the demo again. radio reporter reports that some riot cops who followed the demo hit demonstrators.
* 13:35 demonstration stops around Talstrasse. Police has water cannons placed at the end of Reeperbahn.
* 13:10: the demonstration is about to start.
* 13:05: so far around 4.000 protesters at the demonstration.
* 12:55: demonstration hasn't started yet, mood is good, colorful protesters, speeches are being held.
* 12:24: solicitors confirm that the people who got banned from the city centre after yesterday's Reclaim The Street Party can join the demonstration.

Anti-G8 protesters clash with police in Hamburg

Thousands of protesters marched through the German port city of Hamburg Monday in a dry run for demonstrations against next month's G8 summit on the Baltic coast, with some of the crowd clashing with riot police afterwards.
The protest groups, ranging from leftists to church activists, complained at the huge force of riot police flanking the march on both sides. Organizers had called off the protest halfway through, saying the police had obstructed them.

"This mobile cordon is a disgrace," said an organizer, Andreas Blechschmidt. "It's certainly not reducing tension. "

Police had blocked streets near Hamburg's ornate town hall, and told the crowd of 4,000 to turn back.

A court had earlier confirmed a ban on the marchers coming within 500 metres of a city hotel, the venue for the two-day Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers beginning Monday evening.

Most protesters left, but radicals fought with riot police, who used jets of water fired from riot-control trucks to disperse them. Police said they made several arrests.

About 1,000 in the crowd were black-clad leftist radicals from several European nations, police said. The radicals wore balaclavas and protective clothing to keep themselves anonymous in clashes.

The radicals had said on a website that they aimed to "disrupt" the meeting organized by the "totalitarian, capitalist" European Union, which they charged was aiming to "exploit" Asian nations.

Ralf Meyer, a police spokesman, denied the police were too restrictive. He said police had to respond to the threat to disrupt the meeting, and the police presence was not directed against the peaceful demonstrators.

The protest movement, which also included labour groups critical of globalization, said earlier the Hamburg demonstration would be a curtain-raiser to protests at the June 6-8 summit of the Group of Eight in the German resort of Heiligendamm.

Many in the crowd wore colourful, carnival-like costumes and were protesting at a German police investigation of petrol-bombings in Hamburg and Berlin in recent months. They said the inquiry had treated the whole protest movement as if they were terrorists.

On Sunday evening, police had broken up an unregistered demonstration by 100 radicals in the city and briefly detained 53 after they tried to erect a barricade across a street.

Germany currently holds the presidency of both the European Union and the G8. The ASEM meeting is the biggest gathering in Germany linked to Berlin's EU presidency. dpa jbp sc ch

German Federal State Prosecution Supports Escalation of G8 Protests

G8 summit protestors harshly criticised the comments of the Federal State Prosecutor Monika Harms about the planned G8 protest camps. In different media Harms defended the raids of 40 houses and political projects that happened two weeks ago with supposed "workshops in the camps that prepare people for blockades and militant actions" during the summit protests.

"Once again, the state is producing an escalation spiral," according to Jo Smith of the International Press Group Media G8way. The statements of Harms stigmatise all globalisation critics, and follow the logic of intimidation and criminalisation of the movement during the past weeks. After house raids, permanent controls and observation, she makes the people who will live in the protest camps during the next weeks appear to be suspected terrorists.

"The protest camps in Rostock, Reddelich and Wichmannsdorf are finally constructed after months of difficult negotiations with the local and police authorities. About 20,000 summit protestors are expected to live in the three camps," explains one of the camp organisers. "After making our life hard during the negotiations and preparations, the federal state prosecution now claims that these are training camps for terrorists. The workshops Harms is mentioning, however, are precisely designed to practice de-escalating behaviour towards the police during blockades. Her statements lack any reliable knowledge about the reality of the protests."

Similarly misleading are the statements by the Federal Minister of Justice, Brigitte Zypries. In the daily news programme "Die Tagesschau" (The Daily Show) she said that the previous raids of the houses of summit protestors had nothing to do with the preparations of the summit protests. "In the search orders, however, it was literally written that the searches are necessary to guarantee Germany's reliability towards its G8 partners," according to organiser Jo Smith.

Also, leading officers of the federal criminal investigation department have admitted already that the reason of the searches was to know more about the anti-G8 protest scene. "Obviously, the anti-G8 mobilisation does not provide sufficient reasons for justifying the raids afterwards." The federal government demonstrates in this way that it does not have any interest in approaching the resistance against the G8 summit democratically nor through de-escalating measures. "This way, the government brings more damage than some burned cars ever could. It attempts to scare demonstrators and prevent them from taking to the streets," says Smith. "But we do not assume that this strategy will work out. All the attempts to criminalize the movement have so far led to an even stronger solidarity and mobilization against the politics of the industrialized states.

All neighbours and journalists who want to get an impression of the camps in construction are cordially invited to the Opening Day on Thursday, 31st of May, starting from 2pm in Reddelich and Wichmannsdorf, and on Friday, 1st of June in the camp at the Port of Rostock.

[Media G8way]

G8: On German media coverage

I would like to give you a short roundup of a discussion which is at the moment taking place in german press before the g8. I think that press coverage is an important factor to the success of the summit. Reading the international press, this discussion is not being reported outside Germany. I guess the last information on this list about the current situation in Germany - were the mails about the raids and the demonstration ban. Here some more information besides this.

The growing repression against the G8 protests shows astonishing results. Instead of applauding the actions of the states most parts of the liberal and left press bring almost each day an article on the repression against the protest and sometimes criticizing heavily the police's/state's policies and actions as not adequate and breach of constitutional rights, creating a general mood more positive towards the protest than towards the police.

It all started with the raids. The press first was applauding, but from the second day on they started criticizing the action and making fun of it (as some of the searched were 60+ and as others had been informed beforehand about the repression and as some part of the raid aimed at the publishers of a book which has been published for already five years). Later on some newspapers were starting to question the need for those raids and the aim of it. Was it to frighten? (which they criticized as anti-democratic). And thanks to the press the raids show results which haven't been expected. Strenghtened by the press, as they claim that the raids strengthen the protest, the protest is strengthened, like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Another thing which made the press think was, that nobody was arrested. They are asking. If those people are really dangerous terrorists - why let them run around freely - if they are not dangerous, why those raids?

The second step was, that the minister of interior Wolfgang Schäuble (Christian conservative party) announced, that protesters might be arrested preventively/preemptively. There came a second outcry in the press - as this affects the right to demonstrate, which is officially a basic right in the German constitution.

The third step was the ban of the demonstration around Heiligendamm and the airport Rostock Laage. A new outcry followed. Referring to a court decision of the high time of the protest against construction of nuclear power plants (which granted demonstrators the right to demonstrate in audible/visible distance to the addressee of the protest), large parts of the liberal press defended the right of demonstration (some even said, that this right has to be granted, even if violence can be awaited).

The fourth bigger thing was the news that the German police took from some of the raided odor-samples. This caused another outcry, as this is a method which has been used by the Stasi (the GDRs intelligence apparatus - known now e.g. by the movie: Das Leben der Anderen - The lives of others). Some politicians now started to compare the means of the policies with those of the Stasi (which is a strong accusation in Germany) and some newspapers followed.

And just today newspapers announced that the police has been opening letters to find 'claims of responsibility' after some more fires had been burning cars). This is also heavily attacked, as the privacy of correspondence is also an 'untouchable' right of the German constitution.

All those news are seen just as a further part of the legislations which have been passed as anti-terrorist laws since the 70ies and again stronger after 9/11. As for example online raids of computers, a central data base of fingerprints...

All together those news create now an atmosphere which helps the protest on one side, as people are now sympathizing with the protest, in order to defend 'democratic liberties'. The problem of this support is: nobody is really talking about the contents of the protest anymore, why are we against, why demonstrating - this is not as important to the press at the moment, as the question: are we still living in a democracy?

Therefore the manifestation on the second might be in large parts also a demonstration against the state repression and against a police state.

But the positive effect of the press coverage are:

- the press is regarding the protest rather positively, which is supported by a rather press work from the protest (though they very often also mention, that this is only for the peaceful protest, but there is no real gauntlet for the more radical parts)
- the press tries to understand why people are demonstrating and doesn't create as much, as during other summits, the picture of barbarians destroying everything, and instead give space to some protesters to express themselves
- the discussion about violence from demonstrators is not in the center. the press rather criticizes the police actions and the police's efforts to criminalize the movement or to divide it shows no results (though i don't know whether this is a result of the press coverage, or of the long collaboration of large parts of the movement)
- several papers claim that the police is escalating and fear another Genoa (but now seeing thereby the Genoa riots rather as a response to police escalation)

The above described is mostly spread by supra-regional papers of liberal or left orientation mostly read by intellectuals in larger cities. for sure, not all articles are positive, but above written in my opinion describes the basic tenor of the discussion.

To the region around Heiligendamm:

I can't really tell how it is in the region of the protest. This region is the hindmost German province where people never have been facing such a big protest and are partially extremely frightened by it, whereas the police helps to create fears.

Maybe somebody living in the region can write some lines about the sentiments / mood there.