From Munich to Strasbourg: Smash We Can!
On Saturday, February 7th, 2009 over 6000 people demonstrated against NATO's so-called Security Conference (which the demonstrations dubbed "SiKo") in Munich, in the southern German province of Bavaria, Germany.
Beginning at noon, with the sun shining, demonstrators came together in Marienplatz (central Munich). Spirits were high, in spite of the overwhelming display of force by the more than 3700 police offices from around Germany
From Munich to Strasbourg: Smash We Can
On Saturday, February 7th, 2009 over 6000 people demonstrated against NATO's so-called Security Conference (which the demonstrations have dubbed "SiKo") in Munich, in the southern German province of Bavaria. .
Beginning at noon, with the sun shining, demonstrators came together in Marienplazt (central Munich). Spirits were high, in spite of the overwhelming display of force by the more than 3700 police offices from around Germany.
Early on, the International Block came into formation. Nobody seemed to take the new, so-called "Laws of Assembly" seriously. Ultimately, yesterday showed that this new law will not be accepted. In the speeches that kicked off the rally, countless number of flyers were given out about the upcoming protests against the NATO Conference in April 2009. The message was clear: "From Munich to Strasbourg."
The demo curved around the Bayrischen Hof, where the conference was taking place at the time. Countless organizations, different blocks, ( the Jugend-Block, the Bündnis-Block, the Internationalistische Block, only to name a few), Walk acts, The Clowns Rebel Army, vans with loudspeakers, chants, a sea of flags and banners all made it clear: No to Nato, No to War. No to this System.
As with all large scale demo, there was a wide spectrum of groups: Pacifists, Christians, Antimilitarists, Anarchist, Communist, Unions, Autonomen, and Bourgeois groups came together.
The International Block proved itself to be united and spirited. For a large part they walked arm-in-arm, many were disguised, and did not panic in the face of police aggression. Rather, they remained resolute. Despite the prohibition of „Seitentransparenten" (certain kinds of protest placards), there were utilized on the front rows of the Block.
The police came by the hundreds from all over Germany. The behavior of many was marked by unfriendliness, thuggishness, and arrogance. Scenes like this could be witnessed: A demonstrator crosses onto the sidewalk. Without any warning (verbal or otherwise), a police officer forcefully pushes him back into the demo. The participant questions the officer. The reply: renewed, ever more forceful shoves. Another demonstrator attempts to intervene, only to be told by another police officer, "Shut your trap, or we'll hauling you out of here."
The entire demo was from start finished comprehensively videotaped. Covered under the new "Law of Assembly", the Police videographers could now legally do what they had been doing for years. With proper, TV-Quality cameras on their shoulders, they could be found looking down from above (balconies, scaffolding) filming the protestors. In addition to this, many different film vans were deployed.
The International Block was particularly scrutinized: At times, the block found itself in between five rows of police officers on either side of the demo. Time and time again they were subject to use of police aggression, including the use of pepper spray. Inside the Block, so-called "Civies" were conducting surveillance .
At around 5.30 pm the demo reached Odeanplatz, where the closing rally took place.
The representatives of the Anti-NATO Alliance "Resistance de deux rives" invited everyone present to Strasbourg, Kehl, and Baden-Baden to protest against NATO Anniversary conference in April.
Also at Odeonplatz: a massive Police armada. The traffic through Odeonplazt was controlled through barricades. And as a Bavarian treat: In addition to the security, there was a (or perhaps more) sniper on the roof of the Hofgarten. One activist from Bavaria put it this way: "That's normal here in Munich."
The demo can be seen as a success: Firstly, we could demonstrate until the very end. Seconldly, we purposefully infringed upon the new so-called "Laws of Assembly," and, thirdly, we set the stage for Strasbourg.
In this sprit we say: From Munich to Strasbourg! Block the NATO Conference!
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