Berlin. October 9. 2020. The crowd pushes itself loudly through the narrow alley towards Hackescher Markt, with just one squad of riot cops in front. The drizzle has started right on time, the wetness creeps through the cracks and pores, making the legs clammy. The alley cats have sought shelter under a ledge, pull out their smartphones, smiles on their faces, something different than the usual tourist faces. Hundreds additional riot cops, federal police and others from outide of Berlin stream out of their staging areas. The first mistake: arrogance. Never underestimate a weakened opponent.
And while the cops still line up their trellis, the first windows are already breaking. Some stores with some stuff that nobody needs or can hardly afford. But today many things are not as usual, no hesitation, no panic, fast steps forward. Where the trellis finishes, another militant core, pyros flying on the cops, the first stones. The demo turns towards Alex, more and more fireworks and smoke bombs, somewhere more windows clink, the cops lose track. New cops rush in, the back part of the demo floods back, more stones and pyros for the cops, people take courage, the gap gets closed, the cops are relieved, the plan, stop at the front, work on the trellis. Second mistake: lack of flexibility.
While the cops are busy to encircle the front block three times, small groups are taking off at the back. For some it is getting too hard, some have plans. With hammers and stones they work on all the nice little stores where you can buy handbags that cost about as much as some proletarian families have per month to make ends meet after paying rent, insurance and electricity. The front block is moving again, the cops have completely lost track, somewhere all kinds of stuff ends up on the street, alarm systems are howling, cars are burning.
Civil cops stand around aimlessly in small groups and are scared to come any closer today.
The demo has reorganized itself, only half of it is left, but it is in good shape. It’s still raining, somehow all clothes are wet now, but that doesn’t matter anymore. The cops on the right and on the left, but the slogans are still being shouted in the rain and today it’s not so much still but rather straight. Once around the block, again and again Bengali fire illuminates the night. In the Alte Schönhauser, the cops then want to know and attack the front block with full force, but it remains behind banners and umbrellas and the cops retreat. A few meters further the next attack, they capture a banner, but that was the only success for them today.
Then the leading cop of the federal cops discusses with his Berlin colleague in front of the demonstration. The demonstration has to stay on the spot for a long time. The cops move forces like maniacs, sometimes on foot, riot squads rush through the streets on the further demo route, panic what might come, maybe they are looking for the unknown people who set cars on fire and smash windows. Or maybe they are just looking for their self-importance and sovereignty, Berlin is chaos and not the military training area in Blumberg or anywhere else.
Then the demo is allowed to continue, now there are still a third of the original three thousand who are passing through this eternal rain, still shouting their rage into the night. It goes into the Prenzlauer Berg, the Tuntenhaus greets with flaming hearts, the last part into the Eberswalder, then it is done, the crowd dissolves fast, the cops make arrests for their statistics, while in Friedrichshain people are already active again. Then Berlin falls into the imposed closing time and the nights belong to the cops again. For now.
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