It was supposed to a be a peaceful protest against the spending cuts on social programmes following the massive bailout of Greece and the banks. Twenty thousand marched along Torstraße in Mitte on Saturday behind a banner which spelled out “THE CRISIS IS CALLED CAPITALISM”. At some point, some idiot threw a homemade “bomb” made of powerful fireworks and glass splinters at the police. Fifteen police officers were injured. Two had to undergo surgery. An entire demo is discredited… and an unsavoury discussion has been ignited.
Berlin’s minister of interior affairs Ehrhart Körting (SPD) spoke of a “new level of brutality”.
The Tagesspiegel‘s analysis of the attack asked whether this meant a return to the leftwing terrorism of the 1970s. The print layout of the article was wrapped in huge flames – while the actual incident looked more like big firecrackers going off (see the video to your left).
Coincidentally, EXBERLINER’s current issue (Die Berliner Polizei: Friend or Foe? # 84, June 2010) investigates police abuse, but also shows a cop’s perspective in an exclusive interview with a policeman who happens to be part of the “conflict prevention” teams used during demos (A cop’s life: an insider’s view). Nonetheless, our online publication of a glib, funny list of top German anti-police songs caused the following comment:
“Publishing this song collection after a recent bomb terror act on the Berlin police appears mentally ill. I almost feel like placing a bomb in the Ex-Berliner headquarter directly.”
Wow. In eight years, that’s our first bomb threat…
Anyhow, people, calm down and try to see things in perspective. There’s a context. A social and political context.
1. Homemade bombs have no place at demos and this mag’s editorial line is pretty uncompromising: there’s nothing dumber than a dumb policeman – with the exception of the Antifa & co brand of violent anarcho. The difference: while every society has to deal with a fringe of totally infantile, sometimes violent activists (and everyone knows you shouldn’t let children play with fire, let alone fireworks!), police should act like grown-ups.
Let’s not forget that the cops are no saints. The Berlin police still beat up protesters, or arrest them for no reason. Or kick them in the head, unprovoked. As we show in our the Police Special in our current issue, the police – who are supposed to responsibly maintain the state’s monopoly on violence – regularly bully and mistreat citizens. Set a good example, coppers!
2. Das Volk – and not just a few brainless anarchos, but the vast majority of Germans – are seriously pissed off about the financial crisis, the taxpayer bailout of banks, Greece and whatever’s next. The current mess of a CDU-FDP government is perceived to have little interest in social justice. So it’s no surprise that some of this anger is bubbling to the surface as rage on the streets.
So let’s not all jump on the over-reaction bandwagon. One small bomb can’t be compared to the dozens of assasinations, bombs and kidnappings of the 1970s…. unless you want to call bomb threats to magazine offices terrorism too! Should we report it to the police??