Press Release #7, July 3rd 2017
Police and the homeland intelligence service (Verfassungsschutz) are trying to discourage activists from attending the protests against the G20 summit in Hamburg by use of a broad range of intimidation methods. The measures extend from verbal warnings to a specific person (Gefährderansprachen), public defamation of individuals, obstruction and destruction of camp infrastructure to police raids and preventive detention. Due to media coverage it’s publicly known that the joint Centre for Counter-Extremism and Counter-Terrorism (Gemeinsames Extremismus- und Terrorismusabwehrzentrum) in Cologne has designed this strategy.
In the past couple of days at least in the German cities of Hamburg, Rostock, Dresden, Leipzig, Burg and Saarbrücken police approached several known activists, which then were individually warned – or better threatened that police forces will keep a close eye on them (Gefährderansprachen). In Saarbrücken police threatened some activists to take them into custody if they should attract any attention during the protests in Hamburg. After a police raid in Rostock on July 1st against two people suspected to possibly commit criminal offences in Hamburg, one person was even placed in preventive detention until the end of the G20 summit. According to a press statement issued by the police the public prosecutor’s office is considering to initiate proceedings on the basis of article 129 Criminal Code.
A possible revival of successful mass protests against global summits shall be prevented by all means. In addition to the above-mentioned intimidation methods in the run-up to the protest, the police especially aims to disrupt infrastructure – first and foremost campsites are under severe attack. Regarding the protest camp in Entenwerder Park on July 2nd the police issued restrictions like the following: “It is forbidden to set up tents for the purpose of staying overnight as well as constructing showers and kitchens”. That same night police forces stormed the campsite in order to seize the few small tents already set up and injured several activists by brutal use of riot control agents during the operation. After the restrictive conditions have received approval by the Administrative Court the Interior Senator Grote stated on Twitter that no camp with sleeping area is permitted and hereby supported the police to continue with it’s present policy.
The homeland intelligence service however has established an Internet pillory to publicly denunciate alleged leaders and initiators. Even if this instrument targets individuals it has also the purpose to discredit the movement as a whole. Authorities are willingly aggravating the situation – strong resistance against these provocations is foreseeable.