Frankfurt as protest-free city? – hunger strike begins

by | 25 Jul 2012

With the swift decision to evict the Occupy camp that has spent nine months at the foot of the European Central Bank’s Eurotower, the peaceful protest appears to be entering another juncture of resistance against the city authorities, who have once again shown themselves to be nothing other than the banks’ militant wing, led by the Frankfurt security department head, Markus Frank of the CDU.

One of the activists, Jan Umsonst, has commenced a hunger strike in protest against the evacuation of the camp. “Our protest is still necessary,” says the 38-year-old who was among the first Occupistas who had set up their tents in front of the ECB.

Nevertheless, the City, mirroring the wider debt enslavement of the young, has decided that for the camp there is no future. The ending is deemed a foregone conclusion, by 31 July the camp will be gone from the green space. Frank repeated that the reasons were hygienic and social problems as well as the security situation. The activists do not accept this.

The Occupistas’ anger is particularly directed against Markus Frank. They have negotiated with him four times in recent weeks and they now accuse him (via a broadcast) of meanness, lying, breaking his word, and defamation. Frank had promised to deliver a resettlement solution for the Roma who have also settled at the camp, but has done nothing.

Further, Frank had promised to consult with the head of the environmental department regarding proposals for the use of the Gallusanlage (the green space near the camp), but did not. Frank had alleged that the activists would not have accepted the help offered. That is not true.

“Frank is hiding behind hygiene deficiencies. Frankfurt is hiding behind Frank. The aim is a global city that is free of protest. Cleared of victims ofan  anti-social, human and natural resource-intensive lifestyle,” says the activists’ press release, which continues “Frank carries on as befits the representative of an emaciated democratic political class. He seeks to root out as-yet-untested alternative lifestyles of a near future from a town overcome by Hipster-gentrification.”

The City Council responded forcefully to the allegations on Monday. Frank had by no means promised a plan for resettlement of the Roma, said his officer Andrea Brandl. Rather, he stated his willingness to organise a meeting after the summer holidays with the association for Sinti and Roma. One cannot grant the Roma benefits while others would have to wait, according to Brandl.

Again, the City Council had not promised that the Environmental Department Head would turn up immediately, given that Rosemarie Heilig was newly in office. The talks had always been, “about getting a grip on problems such as cleanliness, safety and social problems”. Frank had neither put off the activists nor lied.  The 31 July date has been written in ink for a long time.

Tonight, 25 July, there will a preparatory demo against the upcoming eviction (see above flyer), with the main demo planned for 28 July.


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