200,000 People Take to the Streets Against Racism in Germany

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On Saturday, 200,000 mostly young people gathered in over 20 cities in Germany to protest against state racism and the murder of George Floyd. In Munich alone, 30,000 people joined demonstrations. In Hamburg and Berlin, demonstrators were violently attacked by the police.

Alexanderplatz in Berlin (Photo: Simon Zamora Martin)

On Saturday, the protests in Germany in solidarity with the uprisings in the United States took on historic dimensions. People took to the streets to protest against state racism — in the U.S. but also in Germany. In Munich, 30,000 people joined the demonstration, in Berlin 25,000, in Dusseldorf and Hamburg 15,000 each, in Cologne, Freiburg, and Hanover 10,000 each. These protests took place despite lockdown measures.

In Munich, people gathered at the Königsplatz. During the demonstration, activists from Klasse Gegen Klasse, the German sister site of Left Voice, called attention to the names of victims of racist police murders in Germany over the past 26 years.

In Berlin, more than 20,000 people gathered at Alexanderplatz, which was closed by the police after a short time. As a result, the surrounding streets filled with people, many of them young people wearing black clothes and carrying signs with slogans against the racist police.

The rally at Alexanderplatz had been announced as a “silent protest,” which gave the whole thing an unorganized character. This form of protest had was criticized by left-wing organisations and members of the Black community: The indignation about racist police violence in the USA demands more than silence.On the contrary, the best form of solidarity with the protests in the U.S. is an equally loud and combative protest against police violence in Germany and the European Union.

German imperialism and its different parties are responsible for dozens of racist murders committed by police in recent years. They are equally responsible for Fortress Europe, which leads to thousands of deaths every year on Europe’s external borders. Right-wing extremist groups are active in the German army and police, and they are supported by German’s domestic secret service.

A “Left Bloc” took part in the rally with chants and then organized a spontaneous demonstration. At the end of this demonstration, the Berlin police attacked the activists and seriously injured several of them

In Hamburg, the police tried to break up the rally just half an hour after it started because more than 15,000 people had come together. A group of refugees from Libya, known as “Lampedusa in Hamburg,” led this rally. Unlike in the other cities, this group decided against a “silent protest.” One day previously, they had organized an action against racism in front of the U.S. consulate in Hamburg with several thousand participants.

As people started leaving the Hamburg rally on Saturday, police water cannons appeared. For half an hour, young people blocked the street and shouted slogans like “Black Lives matter.” Later, the police attacked them with water cannons, horses, pepper spray, and clubs, leaving several injured. Hours later, the police were still chasing protesters through the streets through the city. There were clashes in several places. Even late in the evening, the police detained underage immigrants for hours, some of them barely 11 years old.

This proves once again that the demands for police reform are a dead end. Instead, we must build an independent movement of Black and immigrant communities together with workers and young people against racist police violence.

The current wave of protests overlaps with an economic crisis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Both of these crises are particularly affecting precarious youth and immigrant workers. But even in better-off sectors of the working class, large waves of layoffs have been announced, including at large corporations like BMW, MAN, Lufthansa, Karstadt/Kaufhof, and TUI.

The trade unions need to intervene in these protests and join the fight against state racism with mobilizations of workers on the streets and in the workplaces. Part of this is also the struggle to remove the police associations from our trade unions, which attack and arrest other union members with batons, water cannons, and pepper spray when they go to demonstrate or strike.

Based on two reports in German in Klasse Gegen Klasse on June 7.

Translation: Stefan Schneider

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Suphi Toprak

Suphi is an editor of our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse.

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Robert Samstag

Robert is an editor of our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse.