Democracy and demonstrations
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
The right to demonstrate is an elementary human right. Compared to the incrusted participatory forms of parliamentary democracy, public and collective actions present an important democratic corrective. Whoever wants to strengthen democracy, should not curtail the right to demonstrate, but should themselves make ample use of it.
Freedom of assembly – history of legal restrictions
by Heiner Busch
Since the creation of the Federal Republic, the law on freedom of assembly, authoritarian traditions of the penal law and flexible regulation of the more recent police laws, has made sure that the right to demonstrate could never be enjoyed without limitations.
by Wolfgang Kaleck
The 1985 Brokdorf sentence by the Federal Constitutional Court demands from the police a basic demonstration-friendly behaviour. Despite this, demonstrations are continued to be banned on grounds of ostensible warnings that they endanger public order.
Police strategies against demonstrations
by Michael Sturm and Christoph Ellinghaus
Until the end of the 1960’s, the police orientated itself along military concepts. For the expected state of emergency, they had heavy arms at their disposal. But these concepts proved useless in the face of the students movement and its demonstrations. Today’s police strategies are more flexible: they move between the extremes of „conflict management“ and public relations on the one hand, and a massive but targeted use of force by special units on the other.
Financial risk factor demonstration
by Olaf Griebenow
Since the 1970’s, there have been attempts to turn political protest into an unpredictable financial risk. One can distinguish between three different approaches here: firstly, the attempt to saddle individually identified demonstrators with the whole costs of the police operation; secondly, damage claims by businesses or authorities „injured“ by a blockade; and finally, the police presenting bills for detention and other police measures.
Wendland without the right to demonstrate
by Elke Steven
Since the first nuclear waste transport to the nuclear transfer station Gorleben in 1995, the population from the Wendland region has to accept massive infringements of their democratic rights. Weeks before the transport, a state of emergency is introduced, which brings the whole region to a standstill.
Police handling on anti-fascist demonstrations
by Wilhelm Achelpöhler
If anti-fascist groups want to demonstrate against Nazi rallies, the principle aim of the police is to keep the two groups of demonstrators apart. Anti-fascist demonstrations that are registered with the authorities risk a ban or unreasonable legal requirements, spontaneous demonstrations are often encircled by police.
Rethinking 1st May in Berlin
by Peter Grottian
For years now, the debate surrounding the 1st May in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg was fixated on the question of violence. This year, an alliance of people from civil liberties groups, migrant projects and local organisations aimed at seeking to overcome this trap and create a political, police-free 1st May.
Difficulties with international demonstrations
by Heiner Busch
During the protests against the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001, a 20-year-old carabinieri shot dead a 23-year-old demonstrator – a result of the strategy of escalation applied by the reactionary Berlusconi government. However, the handling of international demonstrations is also influenced by the co-operation between EU member states. Since 11 September, the danger that militant protest is declared terrorist has increased enormously.
Deadly police shots 2001
by Otto Diederichs
Last year, the German police used firearms 4,172 times. Eight people died in the process.
New police regulation in Thuringia
by Martin Kutscha
In June this year, the regional parliament of the Land Thuringia has changed its police and security service regulations. Thuringia is the first Land in which surveillance of telecommunications is allowed on grounds of preventative policing. Powers enabling covert measures are also extended.
Biometric identification systems
by Martina Kant and Heiner Busch
Since 11 September, biometric procedures for the identification of persons are experiencing a boom. Although so far, there have not been any respectable scientific findings on the effectiveness of biometric systems for large groups of people, identification cards and visas in Germany, the US and at EU-level will include biometric data in the future. This article describes other fields in which biometrics is applied and discusses the relevant problems in relation to data protection and civil liberties.