Water cannons, mass baton charges, street battles, and ultimately mobs overwhelming the riot police appeared on Hamburg’s streets after officials attempted to evict the homeless from the Rote Flora squat they’d occupied for over 24 years.
At 13:38 a cop apparently goes for his gun.
On December 21st, the police attacked a large contingent of protesters shortly after the beginning of the noon demo in the Schanze district, to prevent people from continuing their protest. The Hamburg police announced the demonstration “started too early” and was therefore prohibited; later claiming first they were attacked, then unleashed a crackdown. The truth is the demo was halted about 20 meters from the Rote Flora squat, where the police used water cannons, baton charges and pepper spray against protesters. Despite the violent blows/repression, many demonstrators fought back, resulting in strong clashes. Police were pelted with stones, bottles, fireworks, smoke-bombs, and other objects. Additionally, construction barriers and other materials were used for street barricades. The situation escalated out of control; the riot police were massively attacked. Amid the street battles, two officerss reportedly drew their weapons on people (a rumor regarding a warning shot was not been confirmed). Riot police kettled almost the whole of Schanze. Many protesters were badly injured by police, while anti-riot squads attempted to detain demonstrators en masse, hoping to split blocs and chase people away.
The Hamburg police announced that 19 people were taken into custody, investigated for ‘committing a breach of the peace’. The legal aid team (Ermittlungsausschuss Hamburg) counted approximately 260 arrests/detentions, and more than 500 injured protesters. One of the arrestees, who did not have German documents, was kept in custody.
Later that evening, protesters tried to carry out further rallies and spontaneous actions in the inner city, and some skirmishes broke out. Spontaneous gathering and barricading took place in front of the Esso houses, too. Around the St. Pauli district, some of the actions included attacks on the Empire Riverside Hotel, stores, cars (smashed windows), the Hamburger Sparkasse (Haspa) and other bank branches. Surprise demonstrations and direct actions took place the whole night. At the same time, solidarity actions were called in other parts of Germany.
One day before the big demonstration on December 21st, investor Gert Baer and owner Klausmartin Kretschmer demanded the eviction of the Rote Flora squat. Even though it would take them months to get a judicial decision on such an eviction, their ultimatum was a direct provocation.
Late in the evening, the Davidwache police station at the Reeperbahn was effectively attacked by more than 200 people.
Published on Dec 21, 2013
Clashes continued between police and left-wing protesters in the Hamburg suburb of Altona on Saturday. Police are attempting to remove barricades erected by protesters throughout the district.
Bricks, bottles and petrol bombs were earlier launched at police, who responded with water cannon.
The protesters are demonstrating against the possible eviction of the Rote Flora squat, and are calling for the protection of public space and refugee rights. About 4,000 police have been deployed throughout Hamburg, with more having now been called up.