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merkur.de: Ban debate before another Eritrean meeting in Stuttgart

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 18 September 2023

riots

Ban debate before another Eritrean meeting in Stuttgart

Riots at the Eritrea Festival in Stuttgart  Police forces are deployed on the streets after riots at an Eritrean event. /Jason Cheplyakov/dpa

September 18, 2023 at 4:38 p.m

They are armed with pickets and throw stones at police officers: Hundreds of people from Eritrea tried massively on Saturday to stop an event organized by their compatriots. After the large-scale operation, calls for a ban on the next meeting are getting louder.

After the massive riots on the sidelines of an Eritrean event in Stuttgart, pressure is growing on the city to ban the next planned meeting of Eritrean clubs next Saturday. Opposition parties are calling for this to be examined. In contrast, the Association of Eritrean Clubs announced that it would organize the next meeting as planned. According to a spokesman, the city is currently examining under what circumstances another event can be banned in advance.

On Saturday, the police had to defend the Eritrean associations' event against violently rioting demonstrators. Opponents of the event attacked participants and especially police officers. 31 police officers were injured. Baden-Württemberg's Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) spoke on Monday of an angry, violent and armed mob against which the police officers, who were outnumbered, would have had to defend themselves in order to protect the event. The excess of violence came unexpectedly.

In conversations with police officers, he was told about a shower of stones to which the officers had been exposed. A colleague spoke of a wall made of stones, said Strobl. He was convinced that the police had prevented a bloodbath. I was told that there would most likely have been deaths.

The Interior Minister announced harsh consequences for the 228 suspected demonstrators who have since been arrested if the allegations are confirmed. She is being investigated for, among other things, serious breach of the peace and grievous bodily harm. The criminal offenses in question are not trivial, said Strobl. All but one of them had already been released on Sunday.

The SPD and FDP called for consequences from the weekend's experiences. Mayor Frank Nopper (CDU) must decide whether freedom of assembly must be lawfully restricted and the planned event must be banned, said SPD General Secretary Sascha Binder. The state has the task of protecting meetings with the police. However, when it comes to provocations and outbreaks of violence, police officers do not have to be put in danger with their eyes on them, said Binder.

FDP parliamentary group leader Hans-Ulrich Rülke accused the city and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution of not having been sufficiently prepared. It was obvious that there were knowledge deficits beforehand, he said. The police should have been warned. It is known that there can be conflicts between the two Eritrean factions in Germany, said Rülke. If a ban on the upcoming meeting is not legally enforceable, the emergency services must be increased.

The organizing association shows little understanding for a possible ban. It is also about the question of whether an act of violence can have the say, said Johannes Russom from the umbrella organization of Eritrean clubs in Stuttgart to the German Press Agency on Monday. Protecting the event is a task of the state. He must be interested in this as a democratic country, said Russom. Such events have taken place regularly and without incident over the past 40 years.


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