Sunday, July 9, 2017

Violence on the Streets of Germany

Hosted by Germany’s Angela Merkel the recent G-20 meeting was supposed to present the German Chancellor as the new leader of the Western, if not world alliance. You know, the alliance that has formed to fight the good fight against the climate.

Evidently, the world leaders who mattered were American president Trump, Russian president Putin and Chinese president Xi. Their meetings dominated news coverage. Chancellor Merkel was not present at those important meetings.

Instead, she was trying to explain what went wrong in Hamburg. After all, she had chosen the city to host the meetings. And she is ultimately responsible for controlling the rioting and the looting that was put on by leftist activists, environmentalists and various Muslim groups. 

The Wall Street Journal reported on the breakdown of law and order:

A riot that raged for hours just a mile from the Group of 20 meeting site left German officials struggling to explain Saturday how protests that had long been predicted spiraled out of control.

Only after SWAT teams, riot police and water cannons swept block by block were authorities able to end the overnight riots in the left-leaning Schanzenviertel neighborhood, a 20-minute walk from the venue where leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies continued their two-day meeting Saturday.

Stores were looted, barricades and cars set on fire, and officers attacked with rocks, bottles and slingshots, Hamburg police said. Authorities moved to quell the riots only after they had raged for hours, according to several shopkeepers in one of the hardest-hit streets.

Rioters fully intended to commit violent mayhem:

A police spokesman said intelligence suggesting some of the roughly 1,500 rioters were preparing to pelt authorities from buildings with cobblestones and Molotov cocktails had caused the delay. “We had prepared for the G-20 summit to be attacked, not the people of Hamburg,” Hamburg police spokesman Timo Zill told ZDF public television.

 The Schanzenviertel riot appeared to be the most violent flare-up as tens of thousands of people protested across the city. By Saturday morning, 265 people had been detained and 213 officers injured, according to the police. An unspecified number of protesters were also injured.

The German government failed to control the situation:

But critics claiming the government had miscalculated intensified their attacks Saturday. The conservative opposition leader in the Hamburg legislature, André Trepoll, slammed center-left Mayor Olaf Scholz for going easy on left-wing extremism. The Bild tabloid, Germany’s top-selling paper, said both Mr. Scholz and German Chancellor Angela Merkel —who is up for re-election in September—bore responsibility for the events.

“The feeling of general security, which the state must guarantee, has ceased to exist in Hamburg in the last 48 hours,” Julian Reichelt, a top Bild editor, wrote in Saturday’s edition. “The horrific message of Hamburg is: if the mob wants to rule, it will rule.”

So much for Merkel’s enlightened leadership.

The New York Times also reported  on the situation in the streets of Hamburg. Entitled,  “Everybody Went Totally Mad’: 2nd Night of Violence in Hamburg,” the Times story also laid out the issues clearly:

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in two months, had hoped the demonstrations would show leaders of other G-20 nations where protests are routinely quashed that a thriving democracy can withstand public criticism and dissent.

Instead, Ms. Merkel had to condemn the violence and explain why the streets of Hamburg, a wealthy port city, at times looked like a war zone.

Merkel was trying to show the world what a thriving democracy looks like. No doubt she was also trying to justify her own open-arms policy to refugees. Some believed that Merkel had unleashed a crime wave. She wanted to show that Germans could live in peace and harmony, even with their divisions and their Muslim refugees.

The Times reports the scene:

Hours later, 1,500 black-clad anarchists rampaged through the streets of the city’s Schanzen district, plundering shops and setting fire to cars and trash cans for several hours, the police said. An elite unit of special forces was called in to quell the violence, but only after extensive damage had been done.

The police said on Saturday that they had arrested 43 people in connection with the violence on Friday night. Ninety-six others remained in detention, pending an investigation. The police also said that 213 officers had been injured. Activists reported multiple injuries among the protesters, at least two of whom were hospitalized.

Who organized the protests?

 Jan van Aken, a lawmaker with the Left Party, organized the demonstration with several other groups, including the Hamburg Refugee Council, local environmentalists and the Communist Party.

On the ground the scene was horrific:

Residents of the Schanzen district awoke Saturday to the smell of fire and the sight of shattered storefronts. The police said that about 500 protesters had looted a supermarket and then set it on fire as they retreated.

Videos posted on social media sites showed the smashed glass of a looted electronics store that sold Apple iPhones and other devices. Another showed masked demonstrators in black clothes plundering a grocery store; in yet another, masked protesters could be seen being chased by masked and heavily armed police officers against a backdrop of flames and smoke.

And also:

Vanessa Lamm, a Schanzen resident who observed the protests in the district until about 2 a.m., said the police had waited to act until demonstrators began throwing stones and destroying property.

“Everybody went totally mad after that — the police and the people,” Ms. Lamm said. “When they started to destroy the shops, the police went in along with the special forces, who were stronger.”

By morning, residents were cleaning up trash and assessing the situation. Piles of charred bicycles and a refrigerator lay on the sidewalk. Dozens of shop windows — even those that had been taped with “No G20” and other slogans — had been reduced to shards.

Bloomberg reports on Merkel’s reaction. Instead of standing strong and proud as a world leader, Merkel was reduced to explaining why her government had lost control of the streets of Hamburg:

Chancellor Angela Merkel defended the decision to host the Group of 20 summit in Germany’s second-biggest city, promising government compensation for property damage in the wake of looting and rioting by anti-capitalist activists in Hamburg.

Speaking at the end of the summit on Saturday, Merkel told reporters that, from a pure logistical point of view, the two-day gathering had to be held in a large city, given the sheer number of leaders and guests needing housing. Hamburg was also chosen as a symbol of openness to trade because the city of 1.7 million is Germany’s largest port and richest state per capita.

True enough, Germany has been known as an orderly country for several decades now. But, this was also the country that gave us pogroms, performed by the SA and the SS.

Scenes of chaos, looting and burning cars have played out live on German television since Thursday, shocking many in a country known for its orderliness. Merkel, who is running for re-election in September in part on a theme of public safety, fielded several questions from German media at her closing press conference on the protests and response.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the unchained violence and unrestrained brutality that the police faced repeatedly during the G-20,” Merkel told reporters. “Apparently, there are people who have no interest in the issues and instead go on a rampage of blind destruction in their own neighborhood. Tough police measures are the only response to that.”

A major embarrassment for Chancellor Merkel. As of now, however, no serious political opposition has emerged to challenge her leadership. As for the world stage, she is now an also-ran.


ga6 said...

No, it wasn't an embarrassment. all going according to plan..

trigger warning said...

I tend to agree with dd, above. This was no "embarrassment". Despite all the highfalutin', attention-whoring virtueganda about Hamburg's openness to foreigners, free trade, yadda...

Simply recall that 9-11 was planned and executed by the Hamburg Cell and Hamburg resident, Mohammoloon Atta. This was a deliberate, piggish EU-nik slap in the face to President Trump, and the symbolism was not lost on the diplomatic community. I'm only sorry they didn't tear the place up more than they did.

retail lawyer said...

What were the protesters protesting? NPR said it was Trump. AP said it was capitalism. I realize its an obsolete question, the answer is really along the lines of, "what do you got?". Still, I wish reporters on the scene would have posed the question to actual protesters.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Anarchists loot, stealing iPhones and groceries. This is an excellent summation of their political philosophy. Is this a viewpoint that honors authority and civilization in a pluralistic, advanced democracy? No, it is not. Just like communists, who want to bring down the bourgeois state and implement a dictatorship of the proletariat (whatever that means, as we've seen how this inevitably turns out). Anarchists and communists should be vigorously pursued and put down. Immediately. They are not expressions of civilized political participation. They are destroyers.

And Angela Markell is protected by a phalanx of men with guns, and thusly she romanticizes this bustling democratic diversity, compensating destroyed business owners when she should've had the foresight to prevent or stop the madness. These scum groups have been disrupting G__ summits for decades now. Why do they even have to happen? Shouldn't their deeply-held concerns about Climate Change dictate prudence in resource consumption, just like they expect of the rest of us?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

retail lawyer @July 9, 2017 at 7:57 AM:

One crack MSNBC video crew got hit with a water cannon. Fitting.

James said...

The Left is dying in the US AND in Europe. You are seeing it's death throes. It is doing the only thing it thinks it can do and it will get more violent. I was struck about the similarities between Hamburg and the "Can't we all get along" riots of LA in the 90's. Both destroyed their own turf for they both knew they had some carte blanche there and only there.
This will only cause the rise of the Right to accelerate.

trigger warning said...

Retraction: I was too hasty to assume the wurst about Angela. The venue in Hamburg was determined last year (2016)

Ares Olympus said...

On the good side, unlike in American, even mob rule doesn't result in deaths of police, protests, or anarchists, assuming we're allowed to differentiate between the peaceful and destructive ones.

It does look like she was trying to show that democracies allow peaceful dissent, and in that regards it makes democracies look bad.

How does a person participate in a peaceful protest when others present are not interested in a peaceful protest? The simple answer is that once things get out of control, police need to give a short warning, like 10 minutes, and anyone remaining after that period will be arrested by any force necessary.

I imagine those who experienced property damage will be demanding compensation, and obviously they deserve it.

I also imagine protesters who want to keep things orderly have to learn to police themselves, which means knowing who is who, and even being willing to perform citizen arrests of those breaking the rules of the protest. These are issues naive people don't think about before things go crazy.

Sam L. said...

IAC, as you know, a dictatorship of the proletariat has two groups: The Dictatorship, and everyone else.

The riot seems to have been all leftists, and no Islamists (as they were not mentioned). It appears that Frau Merkel needs to allow the police to respond as they deem necessary.

Anonymous said...

Ares Olympus will teach us about the peaceful anarchists, along with his deep wisdom of reasonable property damage claims.

These weren't protests. They were riots. Riots define mob rule. Get it?

Your grammar's a little off today. Maybe you hit the sauce a little early on a summer Sunday?

trigger warning said...

They were indeed riots, and pillage, both (IMO) perfect consequences for the amusing virtueganda and moral preening of the Merkel government. Looking at pix of the feckless hall monitors (aka "Polezi"), they were costumed like a German vision of Robocop in Hell, hauling around automatic weapons I doubt were even loaded. Pure street theatre. As I said above, I only regret the mobs didn't do more damage.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Sam L.@July 9, 2017 at 2:31 PM:

The Islamists have no need to riot. They know they're winning. No need to wreck a good thing. The Anarchists are unproductive, slovenly boobs with nothing to offer. The Muslim areas are no-go areas. They have their freedom to proselytize, fanaticize, cut girls, and kill dishonorable women.

Celebrate diversity!

Anarchists tell the government to #@%$ off -- they spit, hiss, riot, wreck and throw sprawling temper tantrums, reflecting their child-like nature.

The Islamists live their belief. They take the adult approach. They implement, and wait for the response. Being in a multicultural carnival zoo, there is no official response. That would be intolerant, racist. The Islamist widens his security zone, both geographical and behavioral. We know the impact. Merkel does nothing.

I'll leave it to you to decide which method works.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

trigger warning @July 9, 2017 at 3:28 PM:

"Virtuegenda," I like that.

James said...

You notice that for some odd reason the black clad, black masked ones didn't do any "protesting" in the Islamic neighborhoods.

Ares Olympus said...

Anonymous at 2:46 PM said... These weren't protests. They were riots. Riots define mob rule. Get it?

There can be both obviously, except to dense people who need everyone on the other side to be defined by the worst on that apparent side.

I don't know if there were peaceful anarchists in Hamburg, but not all participants are anarchists. Myself, I've talked to a few self-declared anarchists years ago, and can't say I understand them. They seemed more like libertarians to me in their idealism towards the don't-tread-on-me style individual, and the ones I met didn't support violence or property damage at protests.

That's not to say the anarchists I meet were interest in being lawful. In fact they did an unauthorized march and that ended by sitting down in the middle of the street until they were all arrested in a very orderly manner. They ended up with a jaywalking charge after a night in jail, which seemed funny, until I thought about what jaywalking means.

Getting voluntarily arrested for civil disobedience in a mob situation isn't a safe activity, and ideally should be done with training ahead of time, so you know what to expect, and don't let yourself get provoked. It is otherwise pretty boring, and unclear if there's any message that comes out of such things.

But I can't say what went on in Hamburg for planning or the intention of all the varied participants. And obviously any protest message is lost once any riot starts.

Street politics is certainly a tricky form of free speech in a democracy, similar to a strike, needing rules of engagement, leaders who can express a coherent message if anyone asks what they're doing, and followers who can follow directions. Whatever it is it beats a gunfight or suicidal bombers.

Walt said...

Another thing that Trump implied "western civilization" needed to protect itself from if it has the will

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

James @July 9, 2017 at 4:08 PM:

Of course they didn't. The Islamists would've killed them. They're called "No-Go" areas for reasons even anarchists can understand and respect, because the Islamist anarchy is a bit too much for the anarchists. The polezi are much nicer... let's be really brave and throw rocks at them! Anarchist courage on parade, er, rioting.

James said...

Funny how that works.

Anonymous said...


I'm not sure why these "protesters" aren't dealt with in a way that Napoleon stated" "with a whiff of grapeshot."

Do that and I'm pretty sure this nonsense will end yesterday.

Blahgga the Hutt