After Massive protests, Hamburg police try to fool the media again

After massive protests for the fifth day in a row, more and more questions about the reasons police gave to install the danger zone emerged, and police authorities have started salami tactics to confuse the media and public opinion. The danger zone is an area spanning 4 districts of Hamburg, where police can stop, search, ban, and detain people without court order or control by a judge.

On Thursday, the Morgenpost published a story that said the danger zone would be ended on Thursday, but as other journalists asked for confirmation at the police press desk they where told that the danger zone would not end. A few hours later, police authorities stated in a press release that the danger zone would be reduced to 3 small areas around police stations.

Video of Spiegel TV from Wednesday night.

These changes are nothing but salami tactics by police authorities to gradually confuse the media and public. The map of the new 3 danger zones shows that its still a large area, and that many important traffic junctions are in the 3 new zones, so the police can still control anybody for no reason that goes in or out of major parts of the old danger zone (see map). It was confirmed that the danger zones would be reduced to 3 “islands” around police stations, and will be in power from 18:00 (6:00pm) until 06:00 (am). Although, police authorities also stated that they will keep their boosted presence in the parts of the area that are no longer part of the danger zones, and will keep monitoring  the situation there to possibly restrict the full area again.

These changes have come after more and more mainstream media outlets began to question the reason Hamburg police gave for installing the danger zone (not to mention questions about the danger zone itself). On Wednesday night, people protested against the Danger zone for the fourth night in a row, and the police had great difficulties controlling the protests, as there where many many small spontaneous demos at the same time in the whole area. Police forces attacked peaceful protesters with batons on at least 2 occasions on Wednesday night.

Full equipped riot cops were confronted by protesters, many of who were equipped with toilet brushes. After German ARD TV broacasted a scene where riot cops searched a young man and confiscated a toilet brush saying: “This toilet brush is confiscated sir!”, toilet brushes have become the new symbol of people resisting the danger zone. The police had to act on thursday, as their PR machine took a major blow from the humor of the people protesting the danger zone, and from the massive spontaneous protests in the area Wednesday

On thursday night, Hamburger Abendblatt published an article which says that there is an argument inside the Hamburg police forces about the danger zones. According to Hamburger Abendblatt the interiour minister of the state of Hamburg, Michael Neumann, was not involved in the creation of the danger zone. President of police Wolfgang Kopitzsch denies involvement as well. It seems like leading figures are indirectly distancing themselves from the controversial danger zone.

Last night it first looked lke that the pr move of police authorities worked, as there where no protests at 19:00 (7:00pm) like the days before. The weather conditions where bad and it seemed like people would stay home. Later in the evening, a sudden bike demo started in the city-center of Hamburg, and police started to block several streets. As the bike demo arrived in the first danger zone, a few other small spontaneous demos started as well. Protestors made it clear that they won’t be fooled by the police salami tactics, and that they demand the abolition of all danger zones.

Video of last niights bike demo. People are chanting: “Rote Flora will stay” and “Fire and flames against represson.”
For today, Friday January 10, people are callng for a pillow fight at St. Pauli (17:30  – 5:30pm –  local time at Spielbudenplatz in Hamburg) and there is a call to reclaim the streets at 19:00 (07:00pm) at Wohlwillstr and the rest of the area.
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