Category Archives: press EN

All of Hamburg hates the police

Press release #15, 8th July 2017

On 7th July 2017 the G20 summit in Hamburg officially opened – the protests on the other hand had started long before. Although 15.000 police officers were present in the city already the deployment of further police forces was requested and approved. Nevertheless the police lost complete control over some parts of Hamburg during the night after opening day. Neither the use of more than 20 water cannons nor armed vehicles, neither the massive use of riot control agents nor physical assaults made it possible to regain control. Ultimately even heavily armed special riot control squads were patrolling in the streets.

After midnight one of these special units equipped with machine guns forced their way into a house on „Beim Grünen Jäger“ street, where demo medics were taking care of injured persons – including one seriously injured person, who needed to be transferred to hospital care. The police stormed the premises at gunpoint screaming »hands up« and made unmistakably clear that otherwise the firearms would be used. Thereafter the medics were arrested one by one; at the time of writing they had all been released again. The seriously injured person could only be brought to an ambulance after negotiating with the police forces present.

Police not only used brute force in the streets but also showed violent behaviour in the temporary detention centre (Gefangenensammelstelle, GeSa), Schlachthofstraße in Hamburg-Harburg. In the night of 7th/ 8th July a lawyer was physically attacked by three police officers after objecting to the full body search of his client. The lawyer insisted that his client would not need to get undresses, whereupon several police men grabbed the lawyer in question, twisted his arm and dragged him out of the detention centre. These incidents will mainly have one effect: increasing hatred of police.

Raids and arrests at the end of the summit

Press release #16 from 8 July 2017

Directly after the day of action against the G20 summit on 7 July and the police’s evacuation of the Schanzenviertel quarter, the LKA (police authority of the federal state) raided the international centre B5 in the Brigittenstrasse in St.Pauli. At 10:45am an arrest and evidence collection unit stormed the club house and assaulted the people present at the time. Without naming reasons, the people present were constrained and the club’s rooms as well as two private flats in the same building were searched. The basement rooms of the adjacent cinema B-Movie as well as the buying cooperation FoodCoop were rummaged through. During the raids two people were injured and then denied medical attention. The raid by the LKA was executed after having been tipped off by the federal state’s constitution protection agency. Allegedly Molotov cocktails were produced in the rooms which turned out to be an unsubstantiated claim.

On Friday night Hamburg police published an evidence gathering online service with the call to upload potentially incriminating photos and video footage of the protests. Half a day after the publication police officials rejoiced saying that more than 1000 files had been uploaded. Through their call to denunciation and treason the police provoked an „online with hunt“ which it hypocritically refuted afterwards.

On 8 July a massive demonstration with the motto „Solidarity without borders instead of G20“ organised by a big leftist alliance took place. Police forces controlled participants on their way to the demonstration’s starting point. The police redirected a bus by the Falken from Northrine-Westphalia directly to a holding facility for the newly arrested in Harburg and recorded all the personal information of the passengers. At the camp in Altona the police intended to carry out tent and personal examinations which could be prevented by the present lawyers. During the demo there were several police operations against protesters. Hamburg activists were particularly targeted by an arrest and evidence gathering unit.

Throughout the entire city of Hamburg police were looking for international activists in hostels and at train stations. Reportedly the authorities were especially looking for Italian and French protesters while also looking for Kurdish flags. Already during the big rally about 15 Italians had been arrested, inclunding a member of the European Parliament.

According to the G20 legal team’s knowledge, orders for arrest were issued against 15 people, 28 remain in preventive custody. Some of the detainees were transferred to the prisons in Billwerder and Hanöversand. Despite the available capacities, cells at the detention centre in Harburg were overbooked without any necessity. Certain cells were occupied by eight rather than the intended five inmates. The temperature in the cells was at 35°C. Despite previous announcements the detainees were not allocated climatised cells. Some of them reported that they only received two slices of bread over the course of 24 hours.

On Sunday, 9 July a demonstration will take place at the detention centre in Harburg. The G20 legal team will support detainees and other victioms of repression over the coming days.

Batons instead of kettles, water canon instead for carrying people away, pepperspray instead of process

Press release #14 from 7 July 2017

In the early hours of the 7th of July, the action day against the G20 summit started with blockades of the delegates routes and of the harbour. Even in the forbidden zone, declared by a general decree, thousands of summit opponents came together for smaller and bigger actions and participated in diverese actions. Unfortunately – just as on the day before – people got injured.

On the way from Berliner Tor to Mundsburg, a protestor in St. Georg was run over by a police vehicle, they drove on without stopping. The following vehicles of the police convoy only stopped when other people protected the injured person on the road by standing infront of them. The police got out – not to provide first aid, but to disperse the first responders with pepperspray. Later in hospital, the police took the details of the injured person and tried to interrogate them.

During the afternoon, street medics were called to tend to the injured on the Fischmarkt. In the Hafenstrasse, the paramedics got caught in a police control, but could pass after alerting the police of their function as street medics. After not finding any injured person, the paramedics stopped about 500 meters from clashes between protestors and police. 20 minutes later a large police unit (Hundertschaft) came running and pulled the driver and her passenger out of the car. The police held the passenger in a headlock, threw the driver to the ground and stepped on her head and shoulder. She was bruised on the collar bone, upper arm and shoulder and needed to be treated in hospital. Her glasses had fallen to the floor and were crushed by police. While the police took the details of the street medics, they themselves refused any identification.

A dozen detentions were reported to the legal team (EA) from a blocade on Friday morning on the corner Schnackenburgallee/Rondenbarg. Many of these were injured. People fleeing from the police violence tried to scale a 4 meter high fence, which broke down under their weight. Here the police provoked a panic situation without any regard. The result: 14 injured in hospital, of which 11 seriously injured.

In this situation it is not surprising that the Autonomous Street medics meanwhile have to ask for donations for dressing material. The maxim of the head of operations of the Hamburg police is as brutal as it is cold-blooded: Rather leave injured behind than take prisoners.

Hamburg bids goodbye to the rule of law

Press release #13 dated 7 July 2017

On 6 July the police in Hamburg smashed the inaugural „Welcome to Hell“ demonstration of more than 12,000 participants protesting against the G20 summit. In consequence, people spread throughout Hamburg, resulting in confrontations with police in several areas. The police injured so many on that day that independent medics ran out of bandages.

According to police statements, until the evening of 7 July, 71 people had been held, though only 15 were taken into custody. To date, the fact finding committee is aware of five persons who have been detained while awaiting trial. Four of them are in custody in the Billwerder prison, and two have been presented to a judge without legal representation. By its actions, the Hamburg justice system has removed the basic grounds for a trial in accordance with the rule of law.

All those detained are initially moved to the prisoner holding facility on the Schlachthofstraße in Hamburg-Harburg. Fears expressed ahead of time were clearly justified: those detained have been tormented by the police. Their mistreatment includes not providing them with food, forcing them to sleep on unbearably hard surfaces, at times without mattresses, and refusing them access to toilets for intolerably long periods.

Furthermore, lawyers have been prevented access to their clients for hours. The police abused the situation to record personal and biometric data, delaying medical treatments, and keeping those in custody in the dark about the allegations and charges against them. Bail applications by lawyers were not processed by the evening of 7 July by the Neuland district court bench. Nevertheless, custodial judges of that court granted several of the prosecution’s applications for continued detention without trial.

Several fast track challenges of against Italian and Swiss citizens were successful. The travel bans on three persons from Switzerland were temporarily suspended. Two persons from Bologna who had been detained at the Hamburg airport have since been permitted to exit the transit area. The delaying tactics of the justice department were clearly aimed to prevent participation of those persons to the „Welcome to Hell“ demonstration.

Illegal or not – the police of Hamburg don’t care

Press release #12, July 7th 2017

On the 6th of July ,the police pursued their harassment  against protestors  during there journey to the „welcome to hell“ demonstration. Several buses from Denmark where held up for multiple hours and searched. The police also Controlled busses from Berlin and requested the passengers to unlock their cellphones so that they could have acces to the device’s data.

On Twitter, the police defended their actions: „We have controled several bus passengers & the IMEI-numbers of there phones in the port area. No apps or personal data where redout. Once again the police was acting without any legal basis. To criticism of their clearly unlawful approach, the Hamburg police reacted in the usual arrogant manner: „Every citizen has the right to appeal. The judicial review of police measures can be initiated by everyone.“

On July 6th, at Hamburg airport, seven people from Italy were denied entry without reason but with reference to the G20 summit. The seven persons landed in Hamburg at around 2:30 pm with an airplane from Bologna. It was only after 6 hours, around 8.30 pm, that five of the seven people where able to leave the airport. The other two are still denied entry by the Federal Police. Justification for this procedure: a black hooded sweater, solid footwear and woolen gloves with leather applications – which the police called „scene-typical clothing“.

But why shouldn’t people from other EU-countries be able to participate in a demonstration of the left-wing scene in „scene-typical cothing“? A demonstration by the way, for which no conditions were imposed by the Hamburg administrative authorities. Once again, the authorities of Hamburg prove, that they are violating civil-liberties as they want, whenever it seems politically opportune.

Welcome to police state

G20 Legal Team press group, press release #11, July 6th 2017

On the evening of July 6th the police has violently attacked the »Welcome to Hell« demonstration at it’s starting point at Fischmarkt in order to prevent any demonstration from happening. Both the protest rave the night before and the initial event this afternoon took place without any incident.

At 7 pm, by the time the demonstration was about to start, the police goon squads stormed with brute force into the crowd assembled. The people present were subject to severe beating by police forces using batons and in addition the crowd was attacked with pepper spray and water cannons. Apparently dozens of activist have been injured – some of them seriously. Up until 9.30 pm the G20 Legal Team has taken note of more than 50 arrests.

After the manifestation had been dispersed people regathered in neighbourhood districts in order to exercise their right to demonstrate. In some instances police vehicles drove at high speed right in the middle of such assemblies.

At the moment there is still all different kind of protest happening in the streets of Hamburg – the situation remains dynamic.

The police department of Hamburg under the command of Hartmut Dudde has pursued the escalation politics we have already been expecting after the aggressive propaganda campaign, which now ran for weeks prior to the events tonight.

Despite Harassment and Delay: ZuG20 on its Way to Hamburg!

Press release #10, G20 Legal Team, July 5th 2017

The special train ZuG20 from Basel to the protests against the G20 summit left the train station on the 5th of July with four hours delay. Out of the 160 people that wanted to use it, 32 were stopped from traveling to Hamburg: 24 people received travel bans and eight missed the train due to deliberately delayed checks by the Swiss and German Police.

The special train was planned to leave Basel on the 5th of July at 2:27 pm via Kornwestheim near Stuttgart, Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Dortmund to Hamburg. At the German train station in Basel a large police detachment checked the travelers for more than five hours. Due to this harassment the departure was delayed severly. At 6:20 pm the train finally left the station.

The travel bans are a clear criminalization of intent. The authorities banned people from traveling even though they had no criminal record. In the prefabricated decree it states: „Their stay within the federal territory would pose an acute, severe threat to the fundamental interest of society or threaten the public health.“ The lawyer Angela Furmaniak about the bans: „The bullying treatment towards the demonstrators in the train illustrates the police’s questionable treatment of the principles of the rule of law once again. The attempt to prevent protests against the G20 summit with all means necessary is a cause for concern that civil rights might be undermined systematically within the next few days and Hamburg might degenerate to an authoritarian zone.“

The harassment against ZuG20 are in line with the general strategy of the Hamburg police of wearing down the protesters to smother any resistance – even with illicit means. Within the last few days the police tried to stop activists from traveling to Hamburg several times. Be it with preventive custody as in Rostock, with travel bans or with reporting obligations.

Aggressive police operation against protest camps and partying crowd

G20 Legal Team, press release #9, July 5th 2017

Due to constant police harassment, the camp in Elbpark Entenwerder was abandoned on the 4th July in favour of several decentralized smaller camps. On the 5th July the Higher Administrative Court finaly decided  to allow „300 additional small tents (maximum 3 persons per tent), as well as a kitchen, toilets and showers, besides the tents that had so far been permitted for organizing the event“. The original request had been for 1500 tents.

In the city, protesters against the G20 summit have built spontaneous camps in several places, whether private, belonging to the church or public. The police harassment against camp activists are still going on. This was for instance the case on the evening of the 4th July. The police cleared the camp in the Emil-Wendt-Park (Gählerpark) using pepper spray. In response, a spontaneous demonstration emerged that was quickly stopped by the police.

Simultaneously to the park appropriation actions by camp activists, in the evening of the 4th July G20 opponents gathered for the „hedonistic cornern“. Joined by many residents from Altona and St-Pauli, the celebration was a signal that nobody would let the police presence in Hamburg intimidate them.

Despite the cheerful atmosphere, an excessively big police detachment was deployed against the partying people. Around 11.00PM The police started to evict the people from the Neue Pferdemarkt, With the help of 6 out of at least 20 water cannons available in Hamburg at the moment. The partying people where pushed towards the Schanzenviertel neighbourhood. Even this excessive police deployement didn’t manage to break the good mood.

The show of force used by the police against both the camps and the partying people shows well the approach that we can await from the police against anti-G20 activists during the next days. The police are trying to prevent through a massive and brutal approach protests against the violent politics of the G20. Nevertheless, several small camps arose during the last few days and thousands of people gathered in different parts of town and appropriated, at least for a certain period of time, the public space.

Police of Hamburg is spreading mendacious propaganda

Press Release #8, July 4th 2017

The hamburgian police tries to find excuses to legitimate their repression. First they started with verbal warnings against specific persons (Gefährderansprachen), then they raided buildings in Hamburg and Rostock. Now they also published a video in which they attempt to connect the confiscated items to the upcoming protests against the G20 summit.

Chief of Police Ralf Martin Meyer claimed that such items are “part of militant protest” and speculated that they “should be used to commit violent crimes”. With statements like those he accuses the victims of the raids of planning serious crimes without providing concrete evidence. Contrary to the claim of “providing proven facts”, in the police video the paint-filled fire-extinguisher becomes a “flamethrower” and the flare a dangerous weapon capable of “inflicting heavy burns”.

Despite the lack of evidence against the accused person, the hamburgian Police had already set out reporting obligations. Starting at the 2nd of July, he would have had to report at the local police station on a daily basis. The ordered preventive detention is therefore – in legal terms – neither necessary nor proportional.

But not just left-wing activists are under attack. The police nowadays also targets independent lawyers. In an administrative procedure they not just used the alleged political beliefs of the clients, but also the fact that their counsels are member of a lawyer specific civil liberty organisation (the “Republikanischer Anwältinnen- und Anwälteverein e.V.” – RAV) as evidence for a possible danger to public safety.

The chairman of the RAV explaines: “the reasoning of the police command fits perfectly into the strategy of the past days and is a further disregard of the separation of powers.“ The choice of legal counsil has become part of threat assessment and prejudgement. The separation in appreciated and dangerous activists has moved to the level of their legal counsil.

Hamburg: attempted intimidation of protests against the G20 summit and attacks on infrastructure

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.