Communiqué of the Convergence-Centre Freiburg from the 14. of April 2009

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Declaration of the CC Freiburg regarding the antimilitarist activities around the NATO summit in Freiburg, Strasbourg, Kehl, and Baden-Baden on the 3. and 4. of April 2009

"With all wars, especially the civil wars, the first successes are usually crucially effective." - Gustav Struve, 1849

While NATO, along with their generals and heads of state, was celebrating an anniversary (1) of 60 years of war and military dominance of the West, multifaceted resistance stirred in spite of extreme repression on the part of the state.


In Freiburg, the antimilitarist Convergence Centre (CC) (2) opened on the 25. of March at the Autonomes Zentrum KTS (3), as a place of gathering for information and preparation. In the run-up (4) to the NATO summit, over 300 activists from various countries used the self-organized space. In this way, KTS proved its value as a contact point, info centre, place for communicating political issues, and controversial debates. Other projects like SUSI, Grether and the Fabrik were supporting the activities. The Freiburg based Anti-NATO-Plenum was also organising events and coaches to France at this time; free radio station RDL was documenting (5) the days of action.


One success that has been acquired with total commitment consists of the media work by the IMC (Independent Media Centre) linksunten (6) that was able to support crucial parts of the independent coverage in technical, linguistic and content-related ways from Freiburg. The CC also represented an important base for the anti-repression work by the Legal Teams (7). All in all, the CC was able to offer some excellent infrastructure, accomodation and catering for the comrades, some of which had travelled from far away.


In the run-up, commercial media were baiting (8), along (9) with the police department, the authorities and the CDU. Freiburg's police president, Amann, for instance, viewed the CC as a "not unproblematic" affair, while the demonstration by the alliance that was planned for the 30. of March and not officially registered (10) was considered as presumably "not peaceful".


When several members of the City Council ("Gemeinderat") casted their lot with the NATO opponents, peace within the Council began to crumble: The CDU considered the Greens ("Grüne") as a safety risk because the latter demanded the closing of political proceedings (11, 12, 13, 14) against people related to KTS, concerning the autonomous demonstration for uncontrolled assemblies on the 13. 12. 2008 (15). The call for Law and Order was hawked around by diverse positions that are profiteers of North Atlantic politics (16) to various degrees. Retailers were distressed my warning officers and partly blocked up shops. The university closed some of its buildings and warned against "disquiters ready to use violence" on the evening of the 30. of March.


In spite of clear signs of deescalation (17) on the part of the Freiburg Action Alliance ("Freiburger Aktionsbündnis") (18) the interior ministry realised the requests of the media's repression-spectacle (19). The police, coordinated from Freiburg during the summit (20), was blocking entire access roads, pulling out machine guns (21) on roadsides, and detained comrades into "preventive costody". Statewide, in the run-up to the NATO summit registration sanctions were given, (22) house searches were carried out (23), and more attempts to make contact were made by the Protection of the Constitution ("Verfassungsschutz") (24). In Freiburg, too, a climate of fear was meant to be fuelled. The responsible regional government ("Regierungspräsidium") in Karlsruhe gave a directive ("Allgemeinverfügung") (25) without further ado against the NATO opponents: No demonstration was suppoesed to be held at any price in the inner city.


Still, over 2000 people were not intimidated and assembled (26) in the old city of Freiburg on the 30. of March at 6 pm, regardless of harrassment on the right of assembly. A creative bloc with Clown Army, Pinks and Action Samba, dark coloured Autonomen-Block, numerous speeches and the distribution of info material could provide the demo with a multifaceted expression of antimilitarist resistance. In Freiburg, there was a state of emergency. Still, the up to 3000 policemen and -women from many federal state had a grip on the assembly.


The demo, which was originally meant to move through the university area to the Ernst-Mach-Institut für Kurzzeitdynamik, the prison ("Justizvollzugsanstalt") and the district recruiting office ("Kreiswehrersatzamt"), was other-directed by the force of numbers of the police, permanent filming, plain clothes policemen and -women and arrestment squads. A demonstration that cannot be perceived by the public, neither optically nor acoustically, comes in in a truly post-democratic manner. For the media, the large scale operation of the police has eventually even prevented an "outburst of leftwing violence".


The negotiating officers proved to be uncooperative and did not stick to the agreements. After leaving "KaJo", solely a swerve via Rotteckring and Eisenbahnstrasse to the main station was permitted, after which the demonstration was dissolved in the "Grün" quarter, having passed through Bismarckallee and Wilhelmstrasse. Without any reason, the police let us feel their dominance, and, with their helmets on, made a six-row-cordon around the demo on the station axis, as if to make clear one issue of the "Make Militarism History"-demo (27): Radical criticism at the interior military build-up by the NATO countries. Six leftists were taken into custody in the course of the action.


Now the focus of attention was on Strasbourg. Since the 25. of March, the camp area in the South of Strasbourg was being prepared. The temporary suspension of the Schengen Agreement led to extensive border controls, (28) preventing numerous summit opponents from departing or entering. Thus, KTS served as a refuge for those that had been repelled. After partially legal success by the Legal Teams, numerous people could still travel to Strasbourg, where, following a murder by British police at the sidelines of the G 20 (29) in London, it came to the first riots.


Repression was to gain momentum in all its facets now. The Alliance demo in Baden-Baden (30) on the 3. of April was being kept small, thanks to legal harrassment (31), extensive pre-controls and the closing of the borders, and was allowed to walk from the cordon at the station to the cordon at Bernhardusplatz, and back, with 500 people.


While German police was undermining the freedom of expression by means of intimidation, hyper-presence, and "preventive repression", armies and policemen and -women of both host countries smashed any assemblies on the French side in the bud, with such fierceness that hardly anyone would have expected. Globally, an unprecedented large scale transborder operation of around 30000 policemen and -women and over 5000 soldiers succeeded to produce the images of their one-sided propaganda.


While the eyes of the masses were fixed on the columns of smoke, an extension of the involvement of European armies with NATO was decided in the Palais de la Musique et des Congrès in the North of Strasbourg. Thus, among other things, nuclear power France was once more greeted as a full member in the alliance, and is meant to take on leading positions within the military alliance. Outrageous window-dressing is being engaged in with Obama's anti-nuclear-arms rhetoric. The North Atlantic states are obviously aspiring to a far reaching confrontation with competitors Russia, Iran, and China. Also, increases of the force levels in NATO's existing operational areas have been agreed upon. The expansion of the alliance and an intensivation of the policy of war will remain on the agenda. War was sold as politics of peace once more in front of happy claqueur citizens and enthusiastic media, and North Atlantic integration was celebrated by symbolic border crossings and army orchestras.


The about 20000 summit opponents that were heading to the streets on the 4. of April in the early morning hours in Strasbourg learned what Sarkozy means by his politics of high pressure cleaning. Assemblies of every shade that were forming in Strasbourg on this day were attacked by police with tear gas (32), shock grenades, rubber bullets, pepper spray, vehicles, helicopters, water cannons, bricke (33) and batons.

Thus, the police succeeded in jamming a large part of the activists on an island in the East of town, and terrorising them there with all there means till such time as a militant escalation (34) followed and people were defending themselves. On the Kehl side up to 5000 leftists were demonstrating (35), while the border was burning on the horizon and the organs of repression were preventing the crossing of the border. Altogether, in spite of a remarkable mobilisation, the course of the military alliance's conference could be hardly affected. Indeed, the public could hardly overlook the protest and the opposition from the streets (36). The aim of an effective blockade of the summit however was, due to the lack of a reasonable strategy on the part of the activists, not achieved.  

Last but not least, a great compliment ist to made for all the Strasbourg leftists, the travellers, people's kitchens ("Voküs"), campers, residents, IMCistas, translators, makers of legal aid structures, Dissent! France, Gipfelsoli, the infopoints, Résistance des deux Rives, CC-Molodoi Strasbourg, Cine Rebelde, Radio Dreyeckland, Villa Rosenau and many others, the listing of which would actually make this statement truly unreadable.

Considering the excessive repression in the run-up and during the summit, a lengthy aftermath (37) of the summit protests is looming. Numerous people have suffered heavy injuries. Thousands have been hurt by the police at least by the massive use of tear gas. Dozens of activists are now being inflicted with trials. Partially, there have already been summary proceedings and judgements (38). On the Upper Rhine the freedom of expression and movement has been suppressed with all force. NATO in front of our doorstep? A summit of repression (39)!

They mean us all!
Keep making militarism history!
Solidarity with the detained comrades!

(1) Nachbetrachtung der IMI-Tübingen zum NATO-Gipfeltreffen vom 11. April:
(2) Convergence-Center KTS Brochüre:
(3) Kurzaufruf zum Aufbau eines Freiburger CC:
(4) PM Anti-NATO-Plenum Freiburg 18. März:
(5) RDL-Übersichtsartikel:
(6) Support your local IMC:
(7) Legal-Teams Übersichtsartikel:
(8) Pressearchiv bei Linksunten:
(9) Grüne Alternative am 30. März:
(10) Mobilisierungartikel des Aktionsbünsnisses 30.03.:
(11) Offener Brief an die Stadt: 
(12) BZ-Artikel zu den Vorladungen:
(13) Stellungnahme des Bündnis für Politik und Meinungsfreiheit:
(14) Grüne Alternative gegen Repression am 9.03.:
(15) Communique der Autonomen Antifa vom 19.03.:
(16) Aufruf des AK-Antifa Mannheim gegen die NATO:
(17) PM des Aktionsbündnis 30.03. am 29.03.
(18) Homepage des Freiburger Aktionsbündnis:
(19) Bildzeitung Stuttgart vor der Freiburger Demo:
(20) Gewerbegebiet SpaziergängerInnen am 18. 02.:
(21) PM des Aktionsbündnis 30.03. am 31.03:
(22) Redblog:
(23) Wohnungsdurchsuchung in Stuttgart:
(24) Communique der Autonomen Antifa vom 27.03.:
(25) Allgemeinverfügung von Karlsruhe:
(26) Bericht zur Make Militarism History Demo:
(27) Ein weiterer Bericht zur Freiburger Demo:
(28) Communique der Autonomen Antifa vom 2.04.:
(29) Gipfelsoli Sonderseite zum G-20-Gipfel:
(30) RDL-Interview mit DFG-VK am 3. April:
(31) Gerichte gegen GipfelgegnerInnen:
(32) TAZ zur Repression beim Gipfel:
(33) Video vom Nouvelobservateur am 7.04.:
(34) Bericht von Nique le flic:
(35) Bericht von Wilhelm Achelpöler:
(36) Communique der Autonomen Antifa vom 9.04.:
(37) Antirepgruppe Breakout:
(38) Erste Urteile:
(39) Anarchistische Gruppe Freiburg zum Gipfel: