Some 800 followers of the far-right Identitarian Movement joined a rally in Berlin on June 17th, 2017. The demonstration was dispersed by impatient leaders of the movement after counter-protestors blocked the route and it took police more then two hours to evict a roadblock. This led to Identitarians running off, clashing twice with police and then travelling home after only having marched a little more then 600m.
In Mid-April leaders of the Identitarian Movement announced to hold their annual so called mass demonstration with participants from all over Europe in Germany’s capital Berlin. This demonstration followed several rather prominent placed actions such as climbing Brandenburger Tor, blocking the entrance of CDU‘s headquarters and blocking the entry of the Ministry of Justice. Months in advance leaders of the movement addressed their followers on social media to prepare for the march in Berlin. Approximately 800 attended the march. Police decided to partially control participants of the rally.
Officers checked backpacks and banners. As the movement stated that no other, but official Identitarian banners were allowed to be displayed during the march a marshall also checked some other banners and forced people to keep them in their backpacks. A regular attendant of BÄRGIDA seemed quite unhappy about this and was hissing something similar to ‘…I have never seen anything like this at an AfD or PEGIDA march anywhere…’.
At the beginning of the rally at station Gesundbrunnen Martin Sellner and his followers seemed very enthusiastic. As usual at marches of the IB, there were also quite a few women amongst the demonstrators. Other then the classic neonazi-skinhead scene the Identitarian Movement seems to attract more women – links to articles on this topic at the bottom.
Only a few of the more then one thousand counter-demonstrators were to see at the beginning as they were sitting down on the marching route and setting up roadblocks quite early. This led to police stopping the far-right demonstration after only 600 meters marched.At the front banner during these first 600 meters: Female followers of the movement. Sellner also proclaimed over speakers that this shows the diversity of the movement and that women can be women with IB. Later male participants ripped away the front-banner from those to scuffle with police. This shows once more that women clearly do not have the same position as men in this patriarchal movement. As the group had to wait for several hours while police was evicting a sit-in a few blocks down the route and some smaller groups that were getting close to the march, organizers started to get more and more nervous. Martin Sellner, Daniel Fiß, Robert Timm and other leaders of the
movement threatened police in negotiations to dissolve the march if the roadblock was not evicted right away. Impatiently waiting they gathered their marshals and then Rober Timm announced via microphone that he is not willing to bear this impact on free speech any further and the demonstration is officially ended now. This tactic is well know from other far-right marches. Neonazis of the party Der III. Weg have used the same tactics several times e.g. on Mayday in Plauen 2016 – 24mmjournalism was on site: Neonazi demonstration in Plauen errupts in heavy clashes on Mayday
Young male Identitarians from Bavaria and Halle amongst others reacted right away by taking the front-banner and turning around pushing forward towards police. Soon this ended in scuffles. Activists pushed into and attacked police with kicks. The group then partially made it around the first police line. Activists took off running towards the next line of arriving police officers waving black and yellow flags with the Lambda symbol.
After a short stop the demonstration started a second attempt to break through police lines. With activists from the back pushing their comrades in the front into others this lead to fights. The block was shouting ‚AHU, AHU, AHU‘ as this happened. After the situation calmed down a little the group was then allowed to rally back to the station of Gesundbrunnen. A police officer wished leaving activists a good day via speakers.
All in all this shows the danger and acceptance of violence of a movement that is self-proclaimed peaceful. The tactics used against police were equal to those of other neo-fascist groups in Germany. Lutz Bachmann of the PEGIDA movement was traveling on the truck. Designs of banners etc were painted lookalikes of left-wing demonstrators. IB leaves Berlin-Wedding with very few meters marched unmasking themselves as a violent, neo-fascist, patriarchal and authoritarian movement. No hip young people, just selfie-taking fascists that know how to use the internet.
Links to articles on women in the Identitarian movement – giving a reason why their participation is mentioned especially:
Katja Thorwarth for FR-Online: http://www.fr.de/politik/gender/feminismus/identitaere-bewegung-rechtsextreme-grinsekatzen-a-1111035
Takis Würger for Spiegel: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/melanie-schmitz-der-star-der-ultrarechten-identitaeren-bewegung-a-1149449.html
And some general Links to good articles about this movement:
Michael Barthel for Stoerungsmelder on reporting about Identitarians: http://blog.zeit.de/stoerungsmelder/2017/06/19/von-postergirls-und-dunklen-rittern-wie-man-ueber-die-neue-rechte-schreiben-sollte-und-wie-nicht_23988