Street Battles in Hamburg as Activists Defend Rosa Flora Squat

from ContraInfo

The main demo was scheduled for 2pm, starting at the Rote Flora squat, located on Schulterblatt street in the Schanze district, but there were a couple more calls for street protest before and after this one.

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More than 7,000 participated in Saturday’s protest (others estimate a total of 10,000 people) against attempted eviction of the Rote Flora squat, a building occupied for over 24 years, threatened to be sold by owner Klausmartin Kretschmer. Additionally, the mobilization referred to the right to stay for refugees and the Esso houses at the Reeperbahn, but was also directed against gentrification, daily surveillance, and repression within the “danger zones” (authorities are calling parts of Hamburg danger zones, like the area where the Rote Flora squat is located). Meanwhile, in the early hours of Sunday, December 15th, the Esso houses were evacuated by police and municipal authorities on the pretext of danger of collapse.

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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 the protest. The Hamburg police announced that the demonstration “started too early” and was therefore stopped; later they claimed that first they were attacked, and then unleashed a crackdown. Truth is the demo was halted at circa 20 meters from the Rote Flora squat, when the cops used water cannons, baton charges and pepper spray against protesters. Despite the repression blows, many demonstrators fought back, and it came to strong clashes. Police forces were pelted with stones, bottles, fireworks, smoke-bombs, and other objects. In addition, construction barriers and other materials were used for street barricades. The situation went out of control, and cops were massively attacked. Amid street battles, two cops reportedly drew their weapons at people (a rumor regarding a warning shot has not been confirmed), and repression forces kettled almost the whole of Schanze. Many protesters were heavily injured by cops, while anti-riot squads attempted to detain demonstrators en masse, but mostly to split blocs and chase people away.

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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.

Hamburg’s free radio FSK transmitted live reports from the streets all day.

More videos here: iiiiii. More photos here.

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.

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Solidarity to the Oranienplatz protest camp, the Rote Flora squat, the Esso houses initiative, and all combative refugees and migrants!

Report from December 20th

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 cop station at the Reeperbahn was effectively attacked by more than 200 people (see videos here: iii).

Published by Contra Info: http://en.contrainfo.espiv.net/2013/12/23/germany-updates-from-the-streets-of-berlin-hamburg-and-a-few-other-places/

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