Blockupy Frankfurt Day 1: 16 May — Frankfurt effectively in ‘State of Exception’

21:45 CET: as we enter an un­season­ably cold night, thoughts turn to tomorrow’s act­ivism. We’re going to sign off the blog for today. Thanks for reading.
(above) Water cannon stand ready between Eschenheimer Tor and Hauptwache.
20:55 CET: there are now about 100 act­iv­ists in Hauptwache as people drift away. There is a call for a plenary meeting at the old uni­ver­sity campus at Bockenheimer Warte about 3km NW of Hauptwache.
20:33 CET: Above the view of the demo on Frankfurt’s Hauptwache. Towers from L to R: ECB — Commerzbank tower — former Dresdner Bank HQ — Deutsche Bank of­fices — a second old Dresdner tower, now used by Deutsche Bahn. In the fore­ground the squat baroque building was once a gaol.
20.08 CET: Just posted by Jerome Roos over at Roarmag​.org: “There is some­thing dif­ferent about Blockupy Frankfurt, the pan-​European days of ac­tion on May 16 – 19. Not only will Blockupy be the largest transna­tional street demon­stra­tion of the Occupy move­ment so far; it is also ex­pected to in­tro­duce in­nov­ative new tac­tics into the move­ment that could see an es­cal­a­tion of direct non-​violent con­front­a­tion with the cor­por­atist state and the global fin­an­cial in­sti­tu­tions re­spons­ible for causing the cur­rent cap­it­alist crisis …” Read More
19:32 CET: Let’s re­mind ourselves of Art.8(1) of the German Constitution: Alle Deutschen haben das Recht, sich ohne Anmeldung oder Erlaubnis fried­lich und ohne Waffen zu versammeln/​all Germans have the right of un­armed as­sembly, without either prior re­gis­tra­tion or permission.
19:30 CET: today’s bal­ance from Frankfurt: ar­rests: 28 — de­tails taken 560.
19:12 CET: the as­sembly (c.600 people) in Frankfurt’s Hauptwache has de­clared by mega­phone that it is re­gis­tering to take place and that it is a demo for freedom of thought. The po­lice have re­sponded by de­claring the demon­stra­tion “dis­solved”, or­dering people to dis­perse, and are trying to seize the megaphone.
18:58 CET: people have man­aged to con­gregate in Hauptwache for tonight’s planned “Blockupy rave” but re­ports are coming in that the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany’s highest con­sti­tu­tional court) has con­firmed the com­plete ban on as­sembly with the ex­cep­tion of the demon­stra­tion on Saturday in “con­sid­ering an ex­press re­quest”. It has now been con­firmed that this is the final judgment.
17:19 CET: check­points have now been set up around central Frankfurt in a semi­circle from Hauptwache to the main rail sta­tion, then up to the old city de­fences. People wishing to pass into the fin­an­cial dis­trict are sub­ject to spot checks. It seems in par­tic­ular that people with ruck­sacks will be questioned.
17:14 CET: It should be noted that the one ex­cep­tion to the gen­eral ban on protest, which the Administrative Court in Kassel has per­mitted, will be full Blockupy Demonstration on Saturday, which is per­mitted to begin at Baseler Platz (main railway sta­tion) and to pro­ceed to the Opernplatz via the banking district.

17:05 CET: Above a pic­ture of the Hauptwache end of Germany’s busiest shop­ping street (the Zeil) right now.
16:43 CET: To British eyes the po­lice tactic of dis­persal and space pro­tec­tion may look like away of denying Blockupy nice cov­erage of massed ranks, but it also per­mits “no­madic” tac­tics as British pro­testers ad­opted in London in 2010. See pre­vious blogs. There are already re­ports of a hit and run paint at­tack on some council of­fices in central Frankfurt.
16:11 CET: the po­lice have acted to pre­vent a planned as­sembly be­fore the DGB House in Frankfurt (69 – 77 Wilhelm Leuschnerstrasse/​Lower Main Quay) by ket­tling the prop­erty, des­pite the ar­gu­ments of act­iv­ists that they are per­mitted to be there.
15:47 CET: the Blockupy Alliance are con­firming in their cur­rent press con­fer­ence that demon­stra­tions and spon­tan­eous ac­tions will take place ir­re­spective of the Kassel court’s de­cision. Die Linke rep­res­ent­ative in Hesse’s state par­lia­ment has called the total ban as a “mess without an end”, while Interior Minister Rhein has ar­gued that a proper if dif­fi­cult bal­ance has been main­tained between con­sti­tu­tional rights and people’s well-​being. The FDP, Greens and SPD have re­af­firmed their be­lief in the right to protest, while re­fusing to cri­ti­cise the de­cision of the Kassel court.

15:20 CET: Police have openly stated that they are en­for­cing a “Space Protection Concept” fol­lowing the de­cision of Hesse’s Administrative Appeals Court. This means that po­lice will stop any sus­pi­cious group and given the a verbal warning. If this is un­pro­ductive, group mem­bers will be asked to pro­duce pa­pers granting ex­press ap­proval to be where they are. If these are not forth­coming, all per­sons will be taken into pre­vent­ative de­ten­tion.
14:55 CET: Frankfurt, like many large cities, has tour guides who lead groups around the tourist sites. Except not any more — ap­par­ently the group tours qualify as as­sem­blies and are thus banned until Sunday

14:40 CET: the con­firm­a­tion of the total ban on protests and the heavy po­lice pres­ence around Willy-​Brandt Platz has led to a call for Blockupy act­iv­ists to meet at 16:00 local time on the banks of the Main river be­fore the HQ of the Alliance of German Trades Unions (DGB).
14:35 CET: For those who don’t know, Frankfurt’s ECB tower is to be su­per­seded by a larger struc­ture in the east part of the city, close to the port. I men­tion this be­cause a po­lice heli­copter is clearly hov­ering over this part of town, which is cur­rently a large building site.
14:10 CET: Hessen’s main news channel is re­porting that the an­nual laying of a wreath at a monu­ment to the ho­mo­sexual vic­tims of the Nazis, planned for Thursday, has been banned by the au­thor­ities. It ap­pears to qualify as a protest for the pur­poses of the global ban on demonstrations.
13:50 CET: The cur­rent head­line of the Frankfurter Rundschau’s web­site sums it up (tr.):
Camp cleansed, protest forbidden
13:30 CET: roundup:
  • po­lice have con­firmed that they cleared c.340 demon­strators from the Occupy Camp this morning, making 13 arrests.
  • The Hessian Appeal Court for Administrative Claims has re­in­stated a ban on all protest in Frankfurt am Main until but not in­cluding Saturday 19 May. Blockupy Alliance have stated that Blockupy will take place re­gard­less. Die Linke, who were one of the re­spond­ents, have ap­pealed to the Federal Constitutional Court.
  • The au­thor­ities’ at­tempts to en­gender a state of fear and para­noia in Frankfurt has res­ulted in a quiet, car-​free central Frankfurt.
11:00 CET: blog paused.
11:00 CET: Britain’s Guardian news­paper is happy to re­port on its front­page that an Occupy protest in Moscow has been cleared with 14 ar­rests, but has com­pletely ig­nored the clear­ance of Occupy Frankfurt.
10:57 CET: the Camp has been cleared of Occupists. Towards the end the po­lice be­came more forceful, with one hit­ting a peaceful pro­tester round the head in front of cameras.
10:52 CET: the Camp has for the most part been cleared of Occupists, with the c.10 re­maining seated pro­testers now being car­ried away.
10:50 CET: The first full Blockupy event will be a rally at 14:00 in Taunsuanlage (the park­land between the ECB and Deutsche Bank).
10:33 CET: un­be­liev­ably po­licemen in chem­ical emer­gency pro­tec­tion suits have entered the camp to dis­pose of the pad­dling pools filled with paint.
10:32 CET: po­lice have made their first ar­rest — the grounds are unclear.
10:27 CET: Finally a proper livestream http://​bam​buser​.com/​v​/​2​6​4​9​532
10:20 CET: as the po­lice are sprayed with water-​based paints, it should not be for­gotten that this evic­tion is taking place in the con­text of a clearly un­con­sti­tu­tional at­tempt by the au­thor­ities to ban all protest from Frankfurt am Main during 16 – 19 May. On ap­peal the Frankfurt Administrative Court has per­mitted a three of the fif­teen pro­posed ac­tions. Furthermore, the po­lice have had to res­cind their ban on named in­di­viduals from en­tering inner Frankfurt (which amounted for many to house arrest).
10:10 CET: One of Occupy Frankfurt’s ac­tions was to utilise the number of ex-​finance workers who were sup­porting the camp, in­cluding one credit rater from Dresdner Bank and an­other that was a lawyer for Deutsche Bank. The camp set up its own mon­etary system under the aus­pices of the European Occupied Central Bank, and even con­sti­tuted a credit rating arm which duly rated all fin­an­cial products BB+ or less — that is to say “speculative”.
10:04 CET: scuffles in the camp as the po­lice are splattered with paint. Some act­iv­ists have had paint baths to make their evic­tion more col­ourful. The po­lice are now threat­ening ar­rests for this.
09:59 CET: po­lice have ar­rested a cyc­list, pre­sum­ably for cyc­ling on the cracks in the pavement.
09:52 CET: the first Occupists have been re­moved from the camp.
Recording of the po­lice ac­tion here.
09:47 CET: The po­lice have gone in.
09:40 CET: po­lice have is­sued a final warning. A banner close the the ECB states that the banks want the po­lice to deal with the pro­testers quickly, be­fore they find out the po­lice pen­sion plan has been cut.
09:20 CET: Caesar-​style the po­lice have con­structed a double kettle around the camp, pre­venting exit, but more im­port­antly en­trance by Blockupy act­iv­ists wishing to join the Camp. Occupists have been in­formed anyone par­taking in a sit­down protest will be arrested.
09:00 CET: the po­lice are cur­rently handing out the evic­tion order in the Camp. The me­di­ation has prin­cip­ally been a plea for a vol­un­tary exit from the square.
08:30 CET: Police have an­nounced by loud­hailer that a del­eg­a­tion from Frankfurt’s Public Order de­part­ment is making its way to the Occupy Camp to at­tempt a new me­di­ation. The public of­fices are not far from Willy-​Brandt Platz — about 1km due east. In re­sponse to this turn of events, a block of riot po­lice have moved quickly from the square in the dir­ec­tion of the main railway station.
08:20 CET: up to about 300 people in the Occupy camp now. Reports are that the po­lice delay may be due to a final legal ap­peal by a camp member. It is being re­ported that this ap­peal has been dis­missed sum­marily and the Occupy camp clear­ance unto 16:00 Saturday has been con­firmed. In re­sponse Occupists have begun their sit-​down protest.
08:05 CET: The 08:00 dead­line has passed and the po­lice re­main at a dis­tance. An Occupist is ex­horting com­rades to peaceful res­ist­ance, though re­porters are doing their best to pro­voke evid­ence of vi­olent intent.
07:55 CET: With a few minutes be­fore the po­lice dead­line for clear­ance, a group of riot po­lice are kit­ting up.
07:15 CET: 35 – 45 po­lice vans are parked in Willy-​Brandt Platz, along with sev­eral TV mo­bile units. About 150 people are in the camp at the mo­ment, with this number in­creasing as Blockupy act­iv­ists join in solid­arity. The public trans­port sta­tions in the vi­cinity have been closed by the authorities.

  2 comments for “Blockupy Frankfurt Day 1: 16 May — Frankfurt effectively in ‘State of Exception’

  1. 16 May 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Will you keep up­dating this until Blockupy is over? Great job btw.

    • Admin
      16 May 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Nicholas, yes we will try to cover the whole period.

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