Sunday, March 29, 2009

Protest on a Saturday Afternoon

I’ve been told that Berlin averages two protests per day. During the winter I found this unbelievable, most only left their homes for the basic necessities. Now that the weather is turning the politically active are hitting the streets and many are predicting this to be the ‘summer of unrest’.

The demonstration this Saturday was to protest the handling of the financial crisis and capitalism in general “Wir zahlen nicht fur eure Krise” (We’re not paying for your crisis). All the big names in leftist politics and a few anarchist groups were in attendance. Winner of the “most grannies on the ground” award went to the German communist party Die Linke (The Left) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. They’ve been gaining popularity in recent elections; conservatives and moderates are skittish as the primary leaders of Die Linke were party members in the oppressive East German regime.

And any protest or small demonstration in Germany isn’t complete without DA COPS.

They shined up the trucks.

And brought the new canine recruit.
The primary concern of the police was the anarchist group ARAB - Anti-fascist Revolutionary Action Berlin.After taking this picture the procession swept past me while a group of riot police closed in from my right. If things got hairy I was going to catch a baton to the dome.

Later the anarchists unfurled a banner from the roof of my neighboring apartment building and threw flares into the crowd. People were in good spirits and the riot police looked bored – a relatively uneventful but acceptable first protest of the season.
But, the real excitement happened after I left the demonstration to attend an ice-cream social (yes, truth). While I enjoyed dairy treats and chatted with other program participants host families, the anarchists stormed the plaza in front of the mayors office and mayhem ensued.


Video here.


harrison grrgeron said...

your riot video doesn't work!

robert said...

definitely two protests in buenos aires a day also. Entire streets close off in multiple parts of the city at any time of the day. No riots yet though

Werd said...

People here are too lazy to riot. We're busy drinking and eating fatty food. Hmmm, I'm sure this isn't a plot by the authorities in American culture - to keep us placated by chasing material goods and to keep us drunk so we can't place coherent (read: angry) thoughts together...


Paul T. said...

Copy and paste this link for the video:

As for the fatty foods and beer, I partially agree with you. The german diet is all potatoes, cheese, beer and sausages; I feel as if I've been living a never-ending Green Bay Packers tail-gate party. What gives them the spark to overcome perpetual food coma...the world may never know.

GrrlMonstrr said...

this is awesome. the last time i chanted "whose streets?" "our streets," was on the way to brunch when an old man yelled at us for not using the sidewalk. those caged dog mouths make me extremely uncomfortable, though.