About 2,000 (our estimation) to 3,000 (official police and press reports estimation) nationalists from the whole actual spectrum of the far right movement marched on Saturday from the forecourt of Berlin’s central train station (Hauptbahnhof) to Berlin’s centre administrative quarter (Regierungsviertel) which had been secured by the police and therefore empty.
A broad alliance of all democratic parties in the House of Representatives (from Die Linke to CDU), trade unions, churches, charity organisations, and left-wing groups/organisations called to the counter-protest. However approximately 1,000 to 1,400 people (maximum) showed up. Despite the geographical proximity of the counter-demo in Hauptbahnhof, the direct view over the far right rally was almost completely blocked by machinery and construction sites and by police. The far right rally gathered at around 14.00 and dispersed slowly and totally undisturbed along Spree’s riverside at around 15.30.
There was no visible or audible counter-protest on the other side of the river Spree (at the chancellery, the Reichstag, etc.). Participants of the biggest counter-demo did not have the chance to reach the front or along the demo route from Hauptbahnhof. They were practically standing behind the far right demo and had to walk or drive a long way over bridges, around police blockades etc. to reach the route of the far right demo. Noticeable enough, the police operated with technical barriers, grids, K9 units…, like they did at the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland) demo some weeks ago. This way, no protest could be seen up to the crossroads with Dorontheenstrasse. Except of two attempts to block the far right rally at an early stage, I have not seen any direct actions or heard of any (any additional info?).
The area of the rally at Brandenburger Tor was little by little sealed off by the police on a wide scale and was kept accordingly free by “selection” of possible “troublemakers” (official wording). Tourists had to go around the Brandenburger Tor and were wandering irritated back and forth, had no idea what was going on and followed their normal tourism plans. There were no organised contact points (information, call, etc.) from the antifa counter-demo.
The far right rally was not officially supported by Pegida and AfD (they did not want any bad press before today’s election day!), however the personal and overlapping messages with both parties were obvious. The slogans and the banners were the same. As well as the organisations Hogesa, Bärgida, Identitäre Bewegung which joined the demo at the start. Their calls were: “We want no shelters for asylum seekers”, “Liar press”, “Merkel has to leave”, “Antifa is shit, you are the proof for it”, “Whoever does not love Germany, has to leave” and more nationalist rubbish.
At around 18.30, everything was over and got dissolved in the pleasure and hustle of the tourist flows.
So far so bad. Thanks to all of you, who moved their ass and attempted the impossible with a few others! Unfortunately, it needs to be noted that, due to the lack of (self)organisation, there was little courage and implementation will, as well as creativity and preparation, and very few people that could only shout from the distance and to play here and there the little cat and mouse game with the police.
Urgent questions that remain:
Why is there currently in Berlin, despite its thoroughly broad solidarity wave to refugees, so little protesters to deal with the far right on the streets? Why did we not manage to mobilise extensively in the city centre for the counter-protest? Where are the structures and the groups that prepare themselves and sometimes gather one or two hours before the official demo start to ruin the party of the far right rally actively and creatively?
Just before 14.00, people could move themselves unobstructed on the far right rally’s route… Almost all of them had to go over the Hauptbahnhof, from where they could walk easily to the area closed off for them… there were no big banners in sight, the Spree’s side with the administration buildings offered them enough space etc.
This was the second biggest demo of far right nationalist-patriot groups and independent morons, who could walk almost undisturbed through Berlin’s Mitte. We always look at Dresden and further, the time will come, that in Berlin what moves outside the Rigaer Straße will start functioning again.