Date: Wednesday, 17 May 2023
At the Eritrea Festival in Giessen last year there were clashes with over 30 injured. Now the controversial organizer has registered a new festival. City and police are discussing the security situation.
Despite the riots of the past year, the controversial Eritrea Festival is to take place again in Giessen at the beginning of July. The association "Central Council of Eritreans in Germany" has registered the event for July 7th to 9th, the city of Giessen confirmed on Tuesday in response to an hr request.
The venue is therefore the Hessenhallen of Messe Gießen. The Giessener Allgemeine Zeitung reported about it first .
According to Gießen's mayor and head of public order, Alexander Wright (Greens), talks are currently underway between the city, organizers and the police. It primarily deals with "security-related issues".
Up to 2,500 visitors per day are expected at the festival, of which only about half are allowed on the site. The Central Hesse Police Headquarters has set up its own preparatory staff.
There had already been clashes at an Eritrean cultural festival in 2019, but an internal Eritrean conflict escalated in August 2022. At that time, around 100 suspected opponents of the local military regime stormed the event , armed with iron bars, batons and knives.
The Central Council of Eritreans is considered to be close to the government, critics see the festival as a propaganda event for rulers Isaias Afewerki.
The attack in Gießen injured more than 30 people, including police officers. The police spoke of an "excess of violence" that they could only stop with a large contingent. She is still investigating to this day - for example, because of bodily harm and breach of the peace. The city parliament also dealt with the topic.
After the riots, regime opponents and supporters demonstrated peacefully in Giessen. Nevertheless, the conflicting parties are still irreconcilable - which could also affect the security situation around this year's Eritrea Festival.
The city of Giessen now wants to check which conditions the organizer must meet. One cannot prevent the Eritrea Festival from the city side, it said on request from the town hall. Should protest actions be announced on the other side, they want to seek dialogue here as well.