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Hambacher Forest: Not only illegal – The Hambi eviction with fatalities and injuries was politically wanted

Hambacher Forest. We translated a statement from the Hambi Bleibt (Hambi stays) blog after yesterdays court ruling that the eviction in 2018 was illegal.

Originally published by Hambi Bleibt. Translated by Riot Turtle.

The Administrative Court of Cologne confirmed today (September 8, 2021, Enough 14) that the eviction of our tree houses in Hambacher Forst 2018 was illegal. We would like to remind you once again of the consequences of this eviction. This eviction was politically so much wanted that legality and safety of the participants was neglected.

On September 19, 2018, journalist Steffen Meyn fell from a rope bridge in Beechtown and suffered fatal injuries. He knew very well that police officers often act less brutally when media are present. He himself wrote on Twitter one day before he fell: “After the media was often restricted in their work in Hambacher Forest in the last few days, I am now 25 meters up on Beechtown to document the eviction operation. There’s no barrier tape up here.” In now nine years of occupation, there was no other comparable case like this one.

When the accident happened, the occupation had already been standing under permanent lighting and partly insonation for days and especially nights. Chainsaw noises and the “ride of the Valkyries” were played by police loudspeakers and thus psychological attrition of the activists was deliberately used as a tactic. In some cases, the night lighting was replaced by strobe lights, which is one of the most common triggers for epileptic seizures.

The police had planned for severe injuries to activists, as evidenced by a snippet of a file from a memo of a meeting on Aug. 29, 2018, already published in 2019 via the Twitter account @hambibleibt. It states:

“The emergency services on site would have to prepare for a situation with people with serious injuries. Therefore, an accident assistance center would have to be organized on site with the greatest possible availability. […] Based on the confidential discussions held so far, such planning is not yet possible at this time.”

After the eviction, many residents of the forest were left severely traumatized. At least two people have died where this trauma was one of the causes of death.

Today’s court decision is a belated satisfaction that we would have liked to have spared ourselves. We would have preferred if our friends were still alive and our tree houses were still standing.

The file number of the proceedings is 23 K 7046/18 at the Cologne Administrative Court. The plaintiff can be reached for further inquiries at legalsupporthambi@riseup.net and +4915212895619.

Memorial for Steffen Meyn in Hambacher Forest. Image from September 2018.

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