Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nazi Gegendemonstration

Okay, let's go back to March 27, 2010.

In short, the Nazi party (extreme right) had planned a march through Luebeck, like every year, and the Luebeck left (and non-political anti-Nazis) wanted to stop it.  It was a pretty big deal, so I decided to go and check it out- I invited Todd to join me.

Here's a news article (in German), if you'd like to check it out:

There were about 250 neo-Nazis, 2500 anti-protesters, and 2000 police officers (mostly state police officers).

It's important to note that the Nazis have a right to march and to rally.  Just like in the US, political parties are allowed to peacefully meet.  The anti-demonstrators were formed of three organized groups- the organized Left, Luebecks churches, and trade unions.  In addition were a handful of non-political anti-Nazi recruits- I guess Todd and I would belong to this last group.  The goal of the anti-demonstrators was to blockade all of the surface streets into the Altstadt, or the central part of Luebeck.  The goal of the police was to keep everything non-violent, and ultimately to try and separate the protesters and the anti-protesters as much as possible. 

In the end, the police and the Left were both pretty successful- Todd and I went down to the Hauptbanhof at 10:00 and literally everything was stopped.  The police had taken over the train station, keeping Nazis from coming in and anti-Nazis from leaving, the bridge leading into the Luebeck altstadt was literally covered with police vehicles and a large number of the protesters were separated from the action.  The Nazis did end up marching outside of Luebeck, but their planned march route was disrupted by the blockades assembled by anti-demonstrators.  I think I read somewhere that eight people were arrested in the whole day, which isn't too shabby for so big a deal.

Todd and I didn't actually see any Nazis (like I said, the cops did a nice job of separating the Nazis and the anti-Nazis), but we did see a lot of excited people, lots of cops, and got a feel for the German political mood.

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