Date: Tuesday, 23 August 2022
The Event Committee of the Central Council of Eritreans in Germany e.V., under the auspices of the Consulate of Eritrea in Frankfurt, is the organiser of the concert event on 20.08.2022 in the Giessen Exhibition Halls. There is a rental agreement for this event with Messe Gießen GmbH, An der Hessenhalle 11, 35398 Gießen.
A clarification in advance: In recent days, this concert event has often been communicated in the German press as the “Eritrea Festival”, which has been held at the same venue for many years. However, this classification is wrong. The traditional Eritrea Festival already took place this year on 9 and 10 July at the same location without any incidents. Unlike in previous years, there was no organised or registered counter-event this time.
The organiser of the concert was asked to hire security forces on 20.08.2022, which was fulfilled.
On Friday, 18.08.2022, the 8th chamber of the Gießen Administrative Court rejected an application for a ban by 7 different associations in the run-up to the concert in proceedings for interim legal protection.
A demonstration against the concert planned for the evening was then registered for 20.08.2022. This event was also approved by the authorities.
While numerous helpers of the concert event were still busy with the preparations for the concert, the situation of the counter-event escalated massively. A motley group of violent hooligans overcame the security barriers in front of the Hessenhallen and attacked the helpers on the exhibition grounds with stones, iron bars, sticks and also knives.
Another contingent of the hooligans mingled with the innocent concert-goers and attacked them as well. This action was obviously coordinated with the first batch of disrupters.
At that time, however, only a few police officers were on the scene, which enabled the perpetrators of violence to have their way and perpetrate their violent agenda.
The police then informed the organisers that the planned concert was prohibited, especially as there were not enough police officers on site to guarantee the safety of the participants. According to reports, additional police from Wiesbaden, Frankfurt am Main, Kassel, Fulda and Darmstadt as well as officers of the Hessian riot police had already been called in to quickly restore security and order. We are deeply disappointed by this decision. Ensuring the safety of the participants would have been better served by allowing these hundreds of participants to enter the hall and continue with the concert event, instead of forcing them to spend the night on the street with little or no protection. The decision of the police violated the decision of the above-mentioned court and angered the participants who had travelled from all over Germany to attend the event. On the contrary, they not only violated the dignity of the German-Eritrean citizens with this, but also did not provide enough protection for them.
Numerous people were injured, some of them seriously, as well as concert-goers and a policewoman. This is evidenced by numerous photos and video recordings on social networks, which are currently being collected and evaluated. On the other hand, there was no violence on the part of concert-goers or organisers. They were all defenceless against the attacks. We condemn this cowardly act in the strongest possible terms.
The organiser disapproves of any use of violence and defamation. It calls on injured parties and witnesses to file criminal charges and to support the police in their investigations.
The Event Committee and its partners will take urgent and appropriate legal measures and lodge criminal and civil lawsuits against the perpetrators of violence and those behind them.
The Event Committee of the Central Council of Eritreans in Germany e.V.