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#Dannenrod Forest Occupation: A story about eviction of #Woanders and more

Dannenrod. Germany. Day X was already 10 days ago and deforestation in the Dannenröder Forst is advancing every day. Today, the people in Woanders were evicted and the main structure destroyed. The police already ensured several times in their public communication that their operations would be conducted under the principle of ‘safety before speed’. The following text will explain why that is not the case and link to the global context which makes the situation even more absurd. Clearing a healthy forest in times of climate crisis is insane and the operations aren’t “safe”. Neither for activists nor future generations.

Originally published by Wald Statt Asphalt. Image above from November 22, 2020. Image by @demogezwitscher Twitter account.

Text by TKKG on Police Violence (in German)  https://waldstattasphalt.blackblogs.org/2020/11/18/polizeigewalt-und-legitimation-durch-falschmeldungen-eine-geschichte-von-wiederholungen/

New podcast (in German) about and made by activists in the occupation talking about their reasoning, motivation and experiences  https://stimmen-aus-dem-wald.simplecast.com/

Corporate Human Rights Benchmarking Results 2020 for the Automotive sector (has datasets available online)  https://www.worldbenchmarkingalliance.org/publication/automotive/

On Monday, 16th of November 2020, a report was published by the CHRB (Corporate Human Rights Benchmarking) evaluating 230 of the world’s largest corporations on their performance on human rights. The automotive sector scored lowest of all the evaluated industries and lowest in the history of the benchmark. On the previous day in the Danni, a cop cut through a securing forest structure thereby seriously injuring a person protesting the construction of a highway. The police issued a statement about the situation and now takes this as proof for their transparency and the adherence to the principle “safety before speed”. Find the mistake!

Life and health of activists are threatened during the eviction in many ways. Over the last months eviction and clearance pushed forward up to 7 days a week, willingly accepting the consequences. Many activists are now sleep-deprived, as they are climbing during the day and (re-) building during the night. It seriously increases the chance of making mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, activists are well trained and know what they are doing. Nevertheless, during the eviction they climb under conditions of a lot of stress and act over long time periods close to their limits. When fatigue comes on top, it gets extremely dangerous.

Risks are increased as often the forest clearance machines work directly next to people in the trees. Strangely enough there is a large security area for the press which is often denied direct access to the clearance sites. This is not only concerning regarding transparency, but apparently, different security standards apply for activists. They get to hear that the deforestation workers are professionals that know what they do. After all, the activists could just climb down. Their bad!

On a daily base more and more security relevant ropes and structures are being cut and destroyed. In individual cases this has been proven and the police had to admit their responsibility. Mostly, these life-threatening situations are caused by individual cops, who might not have an overview of the complex structures. But specialized climbing cops also cut through safety-relevant structures, while people are on top of them. These cops know what they are doing and how dangerous the consequences can be – they still do it. Until now, everything went well. But “Safety before Speed”? What furthermore should not be forgotten, is the inhuman and violent treatment of evicted people. Medicinal help is being denied, people are being dragged over the ground… And all of this is happening as a response to minor breaches of the law – How is this proportionate?

Responsible for this life-threatening situation is the operation command that doesn’t give the corresponding orders (or doesn’t sufficiently make sure that they are followed) and sends BFE (evidence preservation and arrest police units) in the forest to deliberately destroy. “At the end of the day it’s a minor breach of the law/regulatory offence” is the evaluation of the police of the blockade actions. A regulatory offence doesn’t give anybody the right to consciously endanger the life and health of other people! Police brutality towards left-wing protesters does not only occur in individual cases. It is a structural problem. In addition, the eviction is taking place at a time of extremely high infection numbers during a pandemic. The ‘oh-so-nice-to-have’ principle “Safety before speed” is clearly not followed by bringing cops from all over Germany to the region.

All this excessive violence is justified by the police with posting photos of potentially “dangerous objects” they find in the forest. Maybe, to push their own forces…

…maybe to make the public believe that all the activists are dangerous criminals, a strategy which had already been tried out at the eviction of Hambacher Forst. Once a liar, always a liar.

In order to maybe reconsider who is labelled a criminal I want to draw your attention to the Human Rights Report that was published this Monday. The WBA (World Benchmarking Alliance) began benchmarking the largest corporations on their performance on Human Rights. The climate and the effects of corporate action on climate are more and more considered in this internationally acknowledged report and – what a surprise – the automotive sector scored lowest from all the measured industries (extractives, apparel, ICT manufacturing & agricultural products). Building a highway means support for an industry that threatens both Human Rights and our Environment. Worker’s rights, transitioning to cleaner energy or even efficiency improvements in fossil fuel use are themes that the automotive industry fails to address adequately!

The Human Rights Assessment does paint a grim picture of the corporate world. Actually, the majority of the corporations doesn’t even score half of the points (it’s merely 12% on average for the automotive sector)! I know we probably don’t need any more signs of the failure of the capitalist system to ensure well-being for all. Nevertheless, I wish for more people to understand, that the ones seriously harming the public, exploiting nature and breaching the most fundamental rights are not yet held accountable, while massive efforts and resources are put into the oppression of those trying to preserve the precious nature that is left. We need to rethink mobility and as that apparently doesn’t happen in politics, we have to do it ourselves. Hint: cars and highways are outdated!

Come join the occupation! We are waiting for you! #woanders



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