On the 2nd and 12th of February 2021, court proceedings will take place against two comrades from Nuremberg. The current decision of the local court would be an interpretation of ‚resistance against executory officers‘ unprecedented in Germany: just shouting at police officers is to be punished with a prison sentence without probation. Therefore, this would create a precedent applicable to other entirely non-violent methods of civil disobedience. These methods could then be interpreted as collaborative resistance against executory officers. This would place serious new legal instruments of state force into the hands of the executive branch of government.
In October, the Nuremberg local court sentenced two leftist activists to 18 and 15 months imprisonment, without probation (since the judgement is not yet final, both defendants are not in prison while they await the appeal process). The reason for this sentence: they supposedly shouted at police officers at the Jamnitzer square in the summer of 2019.
The Jamnitzer square embodies the struggle against gentrification and isolation in Nuremberg. Cramped living quarters and overpriced bars are only examples for the many reasons local residents have to spend evenings outdoors. Particularly in this quarter, where private gardens are rare, the public square is a hub of community and social encounters. This however, runs directly counter to the interests of property investors who wish to attract a better paying class of citizens with expensive venues and a stylish, quiet neighbourhood. This necessitates the displacement of less affluent residents. These interests are enforced by a police force which seeks ever more aggressively to prevent the less well-off majority from using this public space.
As a result, in June 2019, park users had had enough and a stop-and-search incident was met by a group of people congregating in solidarity with those stopped by the police and making verbal demands that the police leave the square and stop their harassment, causing the officers to retreat. The incident has led to enforced police presence, even in the form of specialist units, and constant surveillance, accompanied by the prosecution of even minor administrative offences.
But the consequences of this evening in June are even more far reaching, as local media has taken up the police narrative, constructing scenes approaching civil war, clearly attempting to make the police’s reaction and the two – obviously politically motivated – prosecutions appear more reasonable. Within this narrative, spontaneous solidarity among a group of park users is construed as a disciplined mob and one man randomly named as the ringleader.
The legal practice applied to the proceedings was from the start highly dubious and the political motivation is clearly discernible. The older defendant was supposedly identified from a photograph showing eight men over 50 who looked nothing like one-another, but were all ascribed to leftist circles by the interior intelligence agency. The principle applied here was clearly that it would be equally desirable to get a hold of any one of them. The younger defendant was identified based on just one police officer’s statement which was so vague it resulted in the intelligence agency producing three blocks of photographs of eight different individuals – the defendant being the only one in his block roughly fitting the officer´s vague description. In court however, the police officer suddenly claimed to identify the accused with great certainty, in spite of a different witness’s assurances that the defendant had not even been present at the incident. The judge also ignored the fact that the police witness’s boyfriend, also a police officer, had sat in on the proceedings prior to his girlfriend’s statement and had left to have lunch with her directly after other relevant witness statements and directly before she made hers.
This only underlines the fact that the outcome of the case had at this point already been decided upon. It was simply an instrument to address the political issue which had arisen from the use of the Jamnitzer square. The state prosecutor stressed in their demand that this verdict had to create a precedent as deterrence to prevent the Jamnitzer from becoming a No-Go-Area. In fact, the only thing currently threatening to make it a No-Go-Area is continued police harassment. The lawless spaces they evoke seem to be more often found in police stations and courtrooms.
The judge basically followed the demands of the state prosecutor, issuing sentences of 18 and 15 months respectively, permitting neither sentence to be suspended on probation. At the same time as such show trials are held to boost the police’s ego and suppress leftist organising, the state refuses to dissolve the „National Socialist Underground“, NSU, complex. Extremist right wing factions and violent excesses in police and army are dismissed as isolated cases, the existence of militant right wing networks in organs of state force is denied. This presentation of alternative facts is a tested method to obstruct the public gaze.
Constant police scandals have not prevented the police force from being equipped with ever more powers, such as through the police competency law. And the line between intelligence agencies and police becomes ever more blurred, while our rights are curtailed and even the mildest forms of resistance are punished with prison sentences. This is open preparation for the state’s enforced battle against its own people. Political opponents are the first guinea pigs for these methods, but we do not have a long way to go before every football match resembles a military parade, youths are routinely beaten up and strikes and labour unions are criminalised.
Where injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty. Because this situation concerns us all! Show solidarity – only a united struggle can preserve the rights and freedoms which a united struggle won for us. We are grateful for any support for the campaign #Jamnitzer #SolidaritaetGegenPolizeistaatlichkeit, for example through statements of solidarity, spreading of the issue through your structures and publications.
Let us confront their oppression with our solidarity!
A solidarity account has been created with the legal aid network „Rote Hilfe“ for the two prosecuted comrades:
Rote Hilfe Nuremberg GLS Bank
IBAN: DE85 4306 0967 4007 2383 59
For further updates:
The group „Auf der Suche – Anarchistische Gruppe Nuremberg“ has created a page dedicated to this topic:
Some links to interviews (in German), with the defence lawyers amongst others:
Solidarity shirts can be bought at black mosquito.