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On 24th November over 5000 Anti-fascists participated in the annual “Silvio Meier demo” in Berlin under the slogan “To remember is to fight”. Every year anti-fascists commemorate death of Berlin squatter Silvo Meier, who was stabbed to death on 21st November 1992 by Nazis at Samariterstrasse tube station after confronting them about racist symbols on their jackets. This year's demo was the 20th anniversary of his death.
Activists from all over Germany - and even further afield - travelled to attend the demo. The focus of this year's event (apart from demo there had been talks, lectures, exhibitions, graffiti and other actions) were murders by NSU (a Nazi underground group active 'til recently and implicated in several murders of immigrants and bomb attacks) and also far-right strongholds in Berlin's district of Lichtenberg. There, on Lückstraße 58, is a shop that serves as a base of “NW Berlin” (National Resistance).
The main demonstration was delayed by over an hour as organisers waited for people returning from a counter-protest against a Nazi rally in Rudow (the life of a German anti-fascist is a busy one...). The demonstration finally moved from Fredrischshain district towards Lichtenberg. Some masked up - despite it being criminal offence in Germany - and many lit fireworks and flares to emphasise, as an organiser put it, the “militant nature of the demo”.
En route, solidarity banners dropped from roofs, windows and balconies and fireworks exploded from surrounding buildings. At Villa Felix, the house where Silvio lived, large commemorative banners were unfurled with yet more fireworks (looks like Germans really like fire). Speeches were made about state complicity in Nazi murders, and the connection between NSU and the German secret police. It is apparently well known that the German secret police knew about existence of the NSU whilst they kept committing murders and organising bomb attacks.
When the demonstration passed in front of the Nazi shop and National Resistance HQ on 58 Lückstraße, anti-fascists very enthusiastically began the task of redecorating the shop using containers filled with black paint and helpfully installed a new air conditioning with the help of dozens of rocks. Police cars guarding the shop also benefitted from the impromptu makeover. After the demonstration finished the cops kettled people on the U-Bahn and railway stations, letting five out at a time and repeatedly sending snatch squads in and attacking gathered anti-fascists. Loads of people received minor injuries and twenty two people were arrested.
It all sounds pretty punk, but SchNEWS, naturally, managed to gravitate towards the most cynical participant for a quote:
“In the beginning the mood was very, very good. The longer the demonstration went it became more and more boring. Because everybody is excited to see the fireworks on the roofs and stuff like that at the beginning. The end of the demonstration was unfortunately the usual "game " at end of demonstrations in Germany. Not enough people made “chains” [people locking arms to stop police from entering the crowd freely] which allowed police to go through and arrest people. In my eyes this demonstration was too much of a performance and not enough of a militant demonstration, but that is just my opinion.”
Ah well, you can't please them all.
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