Democrats in Dresden have spoiled the fun of Nazi groups: only 800 members of extreme right groups came to Dresden to stage a mourner’s parade, the biggest of a series of parades throughout Europe. And these 800 were prevented from marching. The day was overshadowed by violence.
20,000 people met in Dresden on 19 February 2011 in Dresden for a day of peaceful protest – and it mostly was. The churches organised vigils in the inner city, citizens were dancing at the blockade points. Still, the mood was very different to last year, when a huge street party of civil disobedience was organised all over the city and the Nazi march was completely blocked.
The Police: ‘How am I supposed to know what’s happening out there?’
The members of the extreme right organisation “Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland” (JLO) had gone to court for exactly this reason: they felt that they hadn’t gotten enough support from the police that time, and they won their case, arguing the police should have more worked more consequently to assert their right to demonstrate. Do do this with appropriate force seemed to have been the premise of the police actions on 19 February. Already at noon water cannons were deployed in temperatures below zero. Videos show demonstrators being shot at, smoke bombs and ‘pepper balls’ are said to have been used according to eye witnesses reports, this has not been confirmed by the police.
Other videos show a group of neonazis attacking an alternative housing project in the suburb of Löbtau and the police just observing. According to eye witnesses, a neonazi attacked another person on a train with a knife. Comment? False accusation. The local police press officer on the phone: ‘I’m out, I can’t say anything, please call our press office, I’ll give you the number.’ The press office: ‘I’m in here. How am I supposed to know what’s happening out there?’ This seems to be part of the police strategy around the day.