On Saturday, self-proclaimed “lateral thinkers” will demonstrate again in Leipzig. Have the authorities failed? Yes, thinks Kerstin Köditz, left-wing MP in Saxony.
Frau Köditz, for this one On Saturday, “lateral thinking” announced another demonstration in Leipzig. Did Saxony draw the right conclusions from the disastrous demo two weeks ago and is it well prepared?
Kerstin Köditz: I am not aware of any consequences. Roland Wöller is still Minister of the Interior and after everything that was formulated in the special session, I do not believe that there is any rethinking when it comes to police action. But Berlin has shown that it is possible and necessary.
After the events surrounding the demonstration in Leipzig on November 7th, your parliamentary group requested a special meeting in the interior committee of the Saxon state parliament. Where did you need clarification?
is spokeswoman for anti-fascist politics and responsible for domestic politics of the parliamentary group DIE LINKE in the Saxon state parliament. In mid-October 2020, she announced that she was running for the Left Party’s deputy chairmanship. The board will be re-elected at the end of February 2021.
For us, the action by the authorities on Saturday was a disaster. Mouth and nose protection and distance were not enforced, people were allowed to run across the ring, although currently only stationary rallies are allowed. The application was also about asking what had been learned from the events in Dresden a week earlier. We couldn’t understand how information was handled in advance. On the net, the extreme right definitely mobilized in advance, including right-wing hooligans. There were threats against journalists up to and including personal announcements. That was basically a failure with an announcement.
The actors shift the responsibility on to one another. Who failed?
The Saxon authorities. I don’t want to be the referee between the court, the city of Leipzig and the police. But I see a main responsibility with the interior minister. He is responsible for domestic intelligence. Even before the date, there were reports warning of violence. There were also demonstrations like this in Dresden and Aue beforehand. He doesn’t seem to have taken that seriously. You can’t explain to anyone that you can’t have a small private party, but that you can stumble through Leipzig city center with a beer in hand while the police are watching.
Whether criticism of police operations in Chemnitz in 2018 or Connewitz in 2019, breakdowns in the protection of the constitution in the context of the alleged Islamist murder in Dresden or now the lateral thinking demonstration: Interior Minister Roland Wöller (CDU) is repeatedly accused of weak leadership. Would you say that he cannot live up to his responsibilities?
We have made it very clear that we expect the Prime Minister to finally recall this Interior Minister. We can work our way off the facts, but when we add to his dealings with the media and the public, his behavior is a disaster.
On the Sunday after the lateral thinking demonstration, Wöller invited to a press conference. Ultimately, however, it was just a press briefing; the journalists were not allowed to ask any questions. What kind of crisis management is that? There are big scandals, but what runs through it is the interior minister’s inability to communicate.
There were also calls for Wöller’s resignation from among the coalition partners. Prime Minister Kretschmer and his CDU stand firmly by Wöller. Is there a crisis in the Kenya coalition in Saxony?
It’s not a nice climate for a coalition, but in the end they keep pulling themselves together because they want to keep this coalition. At this point, the SPD and the Greens have to be asked to what extent Wöller tramples on approaches to things that they have promised their voters. For example freedom of the press, but also health protection. The Minister of Social Affairs Petra Köpping (SPD) tries to organize how to deal with Corona and meanwhile the Interior Minister lets a Corona party go through Leipzig. The question here is whether the coalition parties, the SPD and the Greens, are consistently united, or whether the demand that Wöller has to leave is passed on to their youth organizations and domestic politicians. Because that doesn’t help.
In your opinion, what has to change domestically in Saxony?
Saxony needs a modern domestic policy that finally stops seeing “extremism” in the foreground and also deals with content. It is better to listen to what slogans and banners are involved in lateral thinking than to say that right-wing extremists would subvert it. I see a lot of right-wing extremist ideas there among people who are not labeled as such. But if I am not willing to deal with the content, we will not make any progress here.