Handling of the Giessen protests: Mayor demands a review2023-07-11 20:22:54 Written by Martin Plaut Published in English Articles Read 537 times
Martin Plaut posted: " Mayor Frank-Tilo Becher (SPD), who had previously tried in vain to ban the festival, is calling for a reappraisal of the decision to allow the "festival" that must go beyond his city. Source: taz [Note: computer translation from German] After " Martin Plaut
Mayor Frank-Tilo Becher (SPD), who had previously tried in vain to ban the festival, is calling for a reappraisal of the decision to allow the "festival" that must go beyond his city.
[Note: computer translation from German]
After the riots at the Eritrea Festival in Giessen, city politicians are demanding consequences. 26 police officers were injured in the riots.
Giessen on July 8th, 2003, counter-demonstrators in front of the Eritrea Festival are being guarded by the policePhoto: Helmut Fricke/dpa
BERLIN taz | After the riots in Giessen at the weekend, state and local politicians called for consequences. Around 1,700 Eritreans from half of Europe had come together there, like almost every year since 2011, to celebrate the Eritrean dictatorship. About 150 Eritrean counter-demonstrators tried violently to prevent the festival by throwing stones and bottles . 26 police officers were injured, some seriously. It is not known whether there were also injured Eritreans. 131 people were temporarily taken into custody. You are free again.
At the political level, the events triggered a heated debate. The Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) called on the federal government to summon the Eritrean ambassador. "Our police officers are not the buffer stop for conflicts in third countries," he said.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said on Monday at the government press conference that there had been talks with the chargé d'affaires of the Eritrean embassy in advance. It had been made clear to him that inter-Eitrean conflicts should not be fought on German soil. There hasn't been an Eritrean ambassador in Germany for nine years, nor have there been fully-fledged diplomatic relations.
The organizer of the festival is the Central Council of Eritreans in Germany. He is controversial for his proximity to the one-party dictatorship in the small Horn of Africa country, dubbed the "North Korea of Africa." Spokespersons for the association had rejected the accusation that the event was used to promote the regime in Eritrea. Rather, it would have been a cultural and family festival.
Minister of Propaganda praises the festival
However, the statement is contradicted by the fact that the governors of all six provinces in Eritrea were flown in to the “culture and family festival”, performed and celebrated. Even Eritrea's information minister - the term "propaganda minister" would be more appropriate - had tweeted about the festival from the capital Asmara and spoke of a "lively event" that was enriched by the presence of "the governors of all six provinces of the home country". He did not mention riots.
A participant reports to the taz that flags from Eritrea and the sole governing party PFDJ were shown and sold. According to an observer, a song was also sung calling for the murder of residents in the neighboring Ethiopian province of Tigray. This cannot be verified independently. Representatives of the organizer could not be reached on Monday.
The relationship between the Central Council of Eritreans in Germany and the PFDJ itself is also difficult. According to the register of associations at the responsible district court in Wiesbaden, the association, which was registered in 2018, consists of four pillars. One of them is the Eritrean governing party PFDJ itself, the other three are organizations from Eritrea and Germany. According to indirect information from the register of associations, the association is said to be non-profit, but the taz does not have a certificate from the tax office. The picture reports that a German branch of the PFDJ was founded in Frankfurt/Main in February. The taz has minutes of a meeting of the PFDJ youth organization in Germany in May.
Gießen Mayor Frank-Tilo Becher (SPD), who had previously tried in vain to ban the festival , is calling for a reappraisal that must go beyond his city. In addition to the incidents surrounding the festival, there was openly racist hate speech on social media that mocked the rule of law, said Becher. For him, the question is whether such a festival should be allowed to take place again in the next few years.