During a demonstration in Düsseldorf against a new assembly law in North Rhine-Westphalia, the police were aggressively deployed. A journalist was also attacked.
Düsseldorf – At a demonstration in downtown Düsseldorf against a planned assembly law for North Rhine-Westphalia, there was at least one attack on journalists. How RUHR24* reported a police officer to have injured a press photographer with several baton blows. The organizers of the demonstration accuse the police of disproportionate use of force. The police speak of an accident.
|Type of law||Law which restricts the freedom of assembly according to Article 8, Paragraph 2 of the Basic Law|
|last change||January 1, 2021 (Art. 10 G of November 30, 2020)|
NRW: Demo in Düsseldorf – massive police operation and attack on journalists controversially discussed
The events at the demo on Saturday (June 26th) in Düsseldorf cast a devastatingly bad light on the work of the Police at demos*. Its use is now being discussed controversially. If the allegations are against the local forces, the officials apparently proceeded massively and aggressively against the demonstrators in North Rhine-Westphalia *. The organizer speaks of “excessive repression”.
But not only that: Apparently a photographer from the German Press Agency was not immune to the attacks by the NRW police. He reports that he was hit several times with a baton by an officer. According to a report by rp-online at least one other colleague of the beaten journalist would have also reported being attacked. DPA editor-in-chief Sven Gösmann speaks of an unacceptable “attack on freedom of the press”.
NRW: Police report speaks of an aggressive group – journalist got caught between the lines of attack
In a message from Police on what happened during the demonstration* The incident is also mentioned in Düsseldorf. There it is said that the journalist got between the emergency services and an “aggressive group of disruptors”. Because the photographer then made allegations of suspected bodily harm against the officer from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Düsseldorf police filed a criminal complaint to clarify the facts.
The police report also said that the demonstrators had attacked officials several times; Pyrotechnics and smoke pots were burned down. The police then used irritant gas and batons.
NRW: After attacking journalists at the Düsseldorf demo – clarification required
Thomas Kutschaty (SPD) also made it clear that a “clarification of the facts” is urgently needed. He wants to apply for a current hour in the state parliament because of the attacks by the police on the journalists. “We demand complete clarification,” he tweeted. Interior Minister Herbert Reul must finally take a comprehensive position on this. At the moment it seems as if the police attack on the journalist during the Düsseldorf demo could still make waves.
The demo was organized by the alliance “Stop the Assembly Act NRW! Maintaining fundamental rights ”. The alliance fears that the new law will abolish freedom of assembly. “We want a lively, colorful demonstration against the repressive tightening of the law”. In addition, they wanted to draw attention to the importance of the fundamental right of freedom of assembly, said a spokeswoman.
According to the dpa, political left-wing groups and organizations took part in the demo. The number of participants is estimated at 3,000 to 6,000. Even before the final rally in front of the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament, the police stopped the demo and arrested several hundred participants – also because individual participants are said to have violated the ban on masking.
North Rhine-Westphalia: Attack on journalists in Düsseldorf – media representatives on demos strongly endangered
As a rule, journalists, especially video or photo reporters, are easy to recognize: They wear large cameras in front of their noses and usually observe what is happening through the lens. It is not uncommon for members of the press to wear a vest or jacket with “press” written on it in large letters in suspected sensitive situations such as a demo. And yet it does not protect them from attacks.
Like Lutz Kinkel, himself a journalist and managing director of the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) in the Tagesschau explains that media makers who can be immediately identified as such are actually most at risk. Demonstrations in particular are a dangerous place for journalists: 20 percent of attacks on media representatives took place during demonstrations in 2020.
With the planned law, the NRW state government wants to give the police better handling when extremists march. The so-called militancy ban is intended to generally prohibit gatherings that convey violence or intimidation. The wearing of uniforms, uniform-like clothing or a paramilitary demeanor, as is the case with many marches by right-wing extremists or the “black block” of the left-wing extremist scene, are included. * RUHR24 is part of the editorial network of IPPEN.MEDIA
List of rubric lists: © Roberto Pfeil / dpa