Sunday, 10 June 2007

My G8 - from Steve, a friend of SLLU

Steve is a member of the Republican Communist Network

I arrived in Rostock in the early afternoon of June 2. It was already
clear that a large demo was in progress as large numbers of people were
gathered in front of the train station. I joined a contingent of Turkey's
Platform for Rights and Freedoms (HOC), who marched in a bloc that also
included the Internationalist League of People's Struggle (mostly Turkish
Maoists) and the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party and a few other, smaller
groups from Turkey. They in turn seem to have been part of an
"anti-imperialist bloc", with some German organisations. The composition
of the demo was very mixed, especially politically. It looked like the
overwhelming majority were from Germany.

The march was long but uneventful. The police could be s een in the
distance, down side streets. I don't know how many people were in the
march - the nearest I can put it is tens of thousands.

Nothing much happened until people got to the end of the march, in a kind
of harbour area where there was a sort of raised platform. There was said
to be trouble up ahead but there was a screen of trees off to the left
which made it difficult to see well. Many of us moved forward to see what
was happening, with people shouting out to keep together and if necessary
keep arms linked. Sometimes demonstrators would throw stones, then run
like hell, and there would be a police rush.

Off to the left there was clearly some kind of clash, with stones thrown
by demonstrators and police charges. At some point I had been handed a red
flag to hold and I was waving it. Suddenly there was a police rush, they
were like a green blur and one of them grabbed my flag. I hung onto it and
he started hitting me, I think helped by another one. I fe lt hits to my
face and arm and then I was hit in the groin and fell to the ground, at
this point losing the flag. I was conscious of being hit while on the ground.

A German tried to help me up and backed off when there was some aggressive
reaction from the cops. I remember making a victory sign at nearby
demonstrators from Turkey while I was on the ground. The German or another
one tried again to help me to my feet and was successful as I was pulled
back into the crowd, and led to the back by one of my friends. I was
stopped by a German with some kind of camera and mike and asked what
happened. I explained in German to camera. I was perhaps smiling a bit,
which might not have appeared appropriate, but I was relieved at no longer
being a punching bag and being back among friends and the adrenalin
brought forth by an emergency may have kicked in as well.
A German demonstrator offered me a sip of beer and then I moved to near
the stage. One of the demonstrators I wa s with, from Hamburg, had had
pepper gas sprayed in his face and was in a worse way than me, though he
seemed to recover later on.

A German asked me if I had been hit by a stone thrown by a demonstrator or
by the police. I said the police, and he lost interest - it was a sign of
the divisions among demonstrators. If I had been hit by a stone thrower he
might have been more interested, I think. The march was divided into
militant Autonomen/the "black bloc", some of whom needed no encouragement
to mix it with the police and throw stones, and pacifists. The
"anti-imperialist bloc" were not trying to provoke the police but if
attacked would try to resist, but we were something of a stationary target
for the cops and if they couldn't catch the stone throwers they would
settle for us.

At a certain point I went with others to an anti-G8 encampment near
Rostock. There were several police helicopters over the camp and there was
an air of tension, and some speculation that the police would raid the
camp to break it up. There was discussion round a camp fire near the tent
where I was, about the need to organise to defend the camp etc.
Eventually I went to sleep in the tent. Nothing happened during the very
cold night.

The following day I went to the camp first aid centre, as my injuries were
bothering me, especially the groin one. A doctor came and said the damage
was superficial. He said the testicular bruising would go down after a
while. We discussed why the cop had targetted there, apart from it
hurting. He said it was a macho way of attacking someone else's
masculinity. I said, "Es sind Schweine, nicht wahr?" ("They are pigs,
aren't they?") He replied, "Ja, Schweine." (Further note: as of the
evening of the 7th, most of my Sheridan zone is still a disturbing indigo

Earlier that day a German who was in Workers Power's "Revolution" youth
network said he had seen me get beaten up by the police the day befor e
and asked me if I was OK.

Later that day I went with the others I knew to Berlin. It was decided not
to stay in the camp and we were not equipped for a long stay in the
campsite anyway. At Rostock station there was a police rush against some
demonstrators but we got onto the train all right. After the evening of
June 3, all my info about the G8 came from the media. This tended to play
up demonstrator violence - it was claimed that dozens of police were
severely injured. However, the left-wing German daily Junge Welt on June 6
reported that when it contacted the police they were told that only two
police had actually been taken to hospital and one of them had been
discharged. Junge Welt said that the scale of police injuries was
exaggerated in the media to whip up hysteria and justify police
repression, as well as encourage the feeling that injured demonstrators
were getting what they deserved. There were calls from right-wing
politicians for plastic bullets a nd even live ammunition to be used
against demonstrators.

Reports in the media and on the Internet have suggested all kinds of
scenarios. One YouTube shows police suddenly attacking some demonstrators
at a time when everything looked peaceful, thus triggering clashes. I
didn't see it myself, but a police car was parked close to the
demonstration and was attacked. The question arises, why was it there? Was
it bait placed there by police who hoped it would get attacked and give
them a pretext to start charging at demonstrators? I have also mentioned
the divisions among the marchers, who were everything from militant
militants to militant pacifists. It was reported on subsequent days that
there were clashes between the Autonomen and other demonstrators. The
demonstrator who asked me if I had been hit by a rock may have been hoping
to wave me as a bloody shirt in a campaign against the Autonomen. On the
other hand, the people throwing rocks were clearly unconcerned that others
might pay the price for their actions.

I stayed in Berlin a few days, and returned to London on the evening of
the 6th. I wondered if going through passport control might cause me to be
stopped and questioned at either the Berlin or the London end, but nothing
happened. On the 7th, I posted a message on German Indymedia saying I had
been injured and asking if there was anywhere I needed to report the fact.
I have since been trying to find film of my own scuffle on the Internet,
so far without success, though I was told something of it had been
broadcast on TV.

Come to the Cre8 Garden and help create something worthwhile - a memorial to the past present and future victims of Globalisation/capitalism. And let’s put pressure on our politicians to ensure a fair world for everyone.

Click on the link - and if u have second life running it will take you there. If you donot have second life the link will take you to the free download page:

Add to del.icio.usAdd to Technorati Faves♦ ♦Stumble ThisRedditSlashdot it

No comments: