Germany: Combative Demonstration Against Assembly Act

By Roscoe Mackernasey

On October 30, more than 5,000 people protested in the German city of Cologne against the government’s proposed Assembly Act. The act would mandate for all public political gatherings to be registered with the government of North Rhine-Westphalia, a state in northwest Germany. If the law passes, the police will be allowed to surveil any gathering and use drones as they see fit, as well as set up checkpoints where they can demand personal information and threaten attendees with fines and imprisonment. The law undermines the people’s basic rights of assembly and seeks to criminalize any form of combative protest.

The law includes a ‘militancy ban’ which would prohibit any “uniform-like clothing.” This would affect groups ranging from soccer fans in team jerseys to groups of activists who wear black clothing.

Those in attendance included soccer fans, trade unionists, and various revolutionary organizations, including Partizan, a revolutionary organization of Turkish immigrants. In the lead-up to the march, the ruling class media broadcast the lies of the police who claimed that the soccer fans were planning to riot, giving police cover to prepare repressive measures.

During the demonstration, revolutionary activists unfurled a large banner with the slogan “Fight the Assembly Act! We defend our rights!” and a hammer and sickle off the side of a parking garage. Demonstrators cheered and set off fireworks as they passed by the banner. The police attempted to stop the demonstration after the fireworks and arrest those they believed were responsible, but revolutionary groups blocked the police from attempting to apprehend any protesters.

Recurring demonstrations against the Act taking place through July, August, and October have played a significant role in delaying the passage of the law. If the Assembly Act passes in North Rhine-Westphalia, other states in Germany will likely attempt to pass similar laws.

A large banner hung from a parking garage, “Fight the Assembly Act! We defend our rights!”

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