German mainstream media reported today that internal documents of police authorities show cops are preparing a massive police operation against the Fusion Festival in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Police authorities even asked for assistance from the German army. Police also gave sensitive documents non-blackened to a violent far right offender at a police academy. The authoritarian state is marching: A free space of the political left is being attacked. Fusion is not only a place of celebration, but also of networking, a place of lived utopia beyond capitalist and repressive normality. Tens of thousands of people attend at the yearly festival.
The Fusion Festival has been taking place since 1997 at a former Soviet military airport on shores of the Mecklenburg Lake District, by now with about 70,000 participants – so far practically without police presence. But this year the police president of Neubrandenburg, Nils Hoffmann-Ritterbusch, rejected the security concept of the official organizers, Kulturkosmos Müritz. Police authorities are demanding a permanent police presence with its own mobile police station on the festival grounds and threaten to ban the festival if the organizers don’t accept. Ofcourse the organizers did not accept this blackmail by state authorities and 100.000 people signed a petition against a potential ban.
Kulturkosmos Müritz is the official organizer of the Fusion festival but many groups, often from left-wing political contexts, organize the different elements of the festival: the bars, the fire show, security, the light installations, the compost toilets, the power supply, catering for the artists. The Kulturkosmos Müritz association, as the owner of the premises and organizer, is overarching this spectrum.
Today German mainstream media outlet Zeit online revealed that internal police documents show that police authorities started preparing a large police operation against the Fusion Festival two months ago, long before the very same police authorities even had the security concept of the organizers of the festival. According to the documents (dated March 12, 2019) police authorities are planning a police operation with 1000 cops, water cannons and armoured clearance vehicles. One of the units police authorities want to use are BFE units. These units are trained to go into the crowd, to “mix up”. BFE cops are trained and equipped for targeted arrests against individuals who were either caught on film or observed by plainclothes cops. BFE cops will use a number of means to get close to their target, quickly overpower them and extract them without “losing” their objective.
But that’s not all. The documents show that police authorities are also planning to deploy the army during the Fusion Festival. The soldiers are to build an access road to the police camp. Civil police forces would “carry out open and covert reconnaissance measures” and social media should be analyzed in order to “identify planned provocations and obstructions to police operations at an early stage”.
Festival organizers reacted appalled to the police plans. Martin Eulenhaupt of Kulturkosmos Müritz told Zeit online: “Our worst fears seem to be coming true.” Eulenhaupt continued: It seems “as if the police have lost all contact with reality”, planning “a police operation with civil war-like scenarios against a cultural festival with peaceful guests from all over the world.”
But actually Eulenhaupt is wrong: The cops are not losing all contact to reality. The authoritarian state is marching, with new police laws in almost all German states. The shift to right is taking place on all levels and in that sense the move against the Fusion Festival is just one more example of the state getting even more authoritarian as ot was some years ago.
The fact that police headquarters of Neubrandenburg gave the security concept (including personal data such as names and telephone numbers of people working for organizer Kulturkosmos) to a former politician of the fascist AFD party, Ulf-Theodor Claassen, who is also a convicted a violent far right offender and is teaching at a police academy makes the circle round. Netzpolik wrote: “Former AfD party colleagues describe Claassen as ” deceitful” and “unscrupulous”, about him it became known that he fawned former NPD activists in the AfD. Claassen was involved “in a leading position in the security measures for the G8 summit in Heiligendamm” and thus, like police president Hoffmann-Ritterbusch, was active in the planning of the summit at the same time. The two probably know each other personally.
The organizers of the Fusion Festival wrote in a press release today: “For us, the impression that we are no longer dealing with security demands but with the political attempt from the right to attack a left-alternative cultural festival is increasingly becoming clear. The big question is: did the AfD ultimately contribute to the police concept?”
The move against the Fusion Festival is developing into a scandal in German media, police authorites started backpedaling a bit today. A police spokesperson told Netzpolitik that when the security concept would be revised, a permanent police presence at the festival grounds might not be necessary anymore. The local branch of the
FDP (liberal party) Mecklenburgische Seenplatte demands the resignation of Neubrandenburg’s police president Nils Hoffmann-Ritterbusch. Even the conservative party CDU is getting nervous. But in the end the parties of these clowns are the ones that are building the authoritarian state.
Time will tell if police will attack this years edition of the festival or not. The Fusion Festival will take place from June 26 until June 30.
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