G8 Rostock: Police harass immigrants’ rights demonstration

CWI supporters defend protesters

Despite police provocation, a successful demonstration for migrants’ rights took place on Monday 4 June. The Socialist Alternative/Committee for a Workers’ International (SAV/CWI) contingent played a leading role in defending the right to march and in uniting visiting protesters with Rostock residents in opposition to the G8 summit.

The police declared the march ‘illegal’ and lines of riot police and armoured vehicles with water cannons and teargas greeted protestors on their arrival. The SAV/CWI contingent assembled and immediately became one of the most lively and vocal parts of the demonstration, attracting young people from France, around its red flags and banners, who had taken part in the movement against the CPE (an attack on youth employment rights). As a result of the determined mood of the demonstrators the police allowed the march to go ahead but imposed bullying conditions. The police hysterically claimed that hundreds of people had come on the demonstration armed with weapons such as axes and they demanded that protesters remove scarves, hoodies and sunglasses.

At one point the riot police surrounded the demonstration on all sides, and in a panic the organisers cancelled the demonstration and told people to go home in small groups. This could have left many vulnerable to attacks by the police. The SAV/CWI contingent proposed forming human chains to march to Rostock port, thus continuing the demonstration and protecting everyone from the police. This tactic was adopted and the demonstration continued.

As we marched through the backstreets to the port one chant (which rhymed in German!) started by the SAV/CWI contingent reverberated through the demonstration, "G8 cost millions, give it to the ordinary people and the community". This call was greeted by people on the balconies clapping, stamping their feet and joining in. The demonstration reached the port with the police abandoning their provocation tactics. Protesters chanted "we are winning".

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June 2007