Flensburg. Germany. March 25, 2020. About 25 people protested – with a safe distance from each other and partly masked – at the Südermarkt in Flensburg for freedom of assembly and against surveillance. With signs, the demonstrators pointed out the problematic situation for homeless people and the difficult situation in refugee camps and prisons.
Originally published by Feinfrisch. Translated by Enough 14.
The rally was intended to initiate a debate on the question “how much restriction of freedom is acceptable? It is feared that the freedoms that are now being restricted will not return without further ado.
Especially in the course of the spread of the corona virus, there are fears that the acceptance of authoritarian measures and laws will increase among the general population. In large parts of Germany, new police laws have been implemented which give the police extensive powers that massively restrict the freedom of individuals. In Schleswig-Holstein (One of the German states, Enough 14), the new law is intended to give the police far-reaching new control-, surveillance and data storage possibilities and weapons. For example, the police will be allowed to order people they suspect of committing crimes in the future where they are allowed to be located. This enables the police to deprive people of their freedom in a purely preventative manner without a court case.
There are already reports of police assaults in the course of the current “going outside” restrictions. Journalist Elsa Köster tweets: “A Vietnamese man who coughed in a kebab restaurant was forced by police and ambulance into hospital against his will: to undergo a #COVIDー19 test. They didn’t carry out the test; the criteria were not met. She complained at the Federal Police about the incident. They considered the coercive measure to be lawful: the man had not voluntarily let himself be taken to hospital. The man’s son was shaking from rage because of the racism against his father. The ZeckoMag also reports on Twitter about racist police assaults: “@polizeiberlin takes advantage of “no contact” and controls ony only black people in #Goerli who sit around individually (!), only when passers-by interfered they let them off.
Both during the action on site and on Facebook, there were hostilities against the protesters. Also the comment of Julian Heldt in the regional newspaper of the SHZ gives a deep insight. Mr. Heldt – and not only him – is disturbed by the fact that the rally was approved by the Flensburg assembly authority – despite the precautions announced in the registration form. It seems as if many people are of the opinion that the right of assembly has been completely abolished, although the Flensburg order explicitly states that demonstrations can be permitted after an individual proportionality test has been carried out. It is frightening to see how many people do not care about the curtailment of fundamental rights. The fewer people are bothered by it, the less they want to oppose it. Potentially this is the basis for an increasingly authoritarian society.
Exactly this thought was taken up by a poster shown at the rally. It quoted the theologian and concentration camp survivor Martin Niemöller: “When the Nazis brought in the Communists, I kept silent; I was not a Communist. When they imprisoned the Social Democrats, I kept silent; I was not a Social Democrat. When they grabbed the trade unionists, I kept quiet; I was not a trade unionist. When they came to get me, there was nobody left to protest.”
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