On October 3rd the celebration of 26 years of german unity were held in Dresden. Motto of the celebration was ‚Building Bridges’. The celebration was characterized by protests of very different types. Antifascists mobilized to remind people that nationalism and isolation, as Europe fortificates its borders against migrants, can not be a reason to hold a party. Neonazis and far-right groups mobilized to disturb the ceremony, as according to their opinion the german government is betraying the ‚Volk‘ and instrumentalises the so-called ‚migrants crisis‘ for populist far-right politics. After the bombing attacks just days before the ceremony and following islamist attacks across Europe one could see a high amount of security forces across the city.
Snipers, machine-pistols and concrete blocks
Wandering the so called ‚party-mile‘ in Dresden’s old-town an attentive visitor could easily spot the high amount of security forces on site. Snipers were stationed on the rooftops surrounding the festivities that were attended by politicians. The special forces were constantly checking the crowd of people passing by, also demonstrators against the festivities. Around the old town special police forces were also stationed on the ground. Equipped with MP-5 machine pistols policemen were standing in the streets and controlling entrances. Also private security forces were checking people entering the festivities. Concrete blocks were put onto streets and also small passages to prevent terrorist attacks as in Nizza this summer.
‚Ferries, not Frontex‘ – antifascists counter protests
Antifascists mobilized to remind visitors of the festivities and politicians that there are few reasons to party over the situation in Germany and Europe right now. Almost daily there are new media reports about racist attacks on refugees and so called minorities. Almost daily media reports about drowned migrants in the Mediterranean Sea or the few that barely manage to survive the flight. Far-right populist parties make use of racist stereotypes to gather new followers. Following a demonstration the night before, impressively activists displayed to visitors of the festivities how borders feel and how it feels if one cannot enjoy free movement. At 2 PM Activists blocked the Augustenbrücke that led directly to the festivities with a banner that stated:
‚Deutschland spricht von Brücken aber baut Grenzen‘
‚Germany speaks about bridges, but builds borders.’
This banner referred to the motto of the celebration. Activists stopped visitors from entering the festivities. This form of protest lead to anger amongst many trying to cross the river Elbe and participate in the unification celebration. Many peaceful disturbances took place along the day. Coffins floated down the river representing people dying on boats trying to enter Europe. Activists did a ‚Die-In‘ next to the Bundeswehr. Spontaneous smaller demonstrations marched through the city. A video-message was played from the Non-Citizens’ protest at Sendlinger Tor in Munich. Many more actions took place that were collected on the website 3oct.net.
Hatred and loud disturbance – PEGIDA, militant neonazis and AfD
With Dresden being PEGIDA’s homezone and a strong militant neonazi scene announced protests against the festivities took place. At 9 AM the first PEGIDA followers gathered at Neumarkt to disturb the festivities. Whistles and Vuvuzelas were used. Amongst the mass: Stephane Simon, affiliated with LEGIDA, Lutz Bachmann and activists from all over Germany. Shortly after
24mmjournalism’s arrival to Dresden Neumarkt Stephane Simon started cussing at the team. He also repeated his announcement from his speech at PEGIDA Munich that after the soon end of the BRD ‚people like you‘ will have to leave the country like Thomas Mann did long time ago.
PEGIDAs whistling continued in front of the Semperoper. In the afternoon PEGIDA gathered close to Dresden Central Station. Götz Kubitschek announced the ‚second wave‘ is taking place from now on – referring to his manuscript. At the same time the most militant hooligans gathered with Tatjana Festering a little outside the city. Participants were wearing ‚HKN KRZ‘ caps, singer of hooligan band Kategorie C, Hannes Ostendorf, performed and many neonazi symbols were seen. An AfD city council member from Schwerin held a talk, clearly using neonazi-wording. The Identitarian movement participated in both rallies: PEGIDA Dresden and Tatjana Festerling’s demonstration at the Blaues Wunder.
Gallery of Blaues Wunder and PEGIDA disturbances in the morning:
The impression remaining: Many people from Dresden seem to have forgotten what a locked down border means. Many people participating in the rally do not see a problem to have the most militant hooligans amongst them. Lots of hatred against foreigners – and also press.