After two years of continuous right-wing extremist marches through their neighborhood, the residents’ initiative Anwohner*inneninitiative für Zivilcourage – Gegen Rechts reviews their committed self-organized protests of numerous events. The main event so far being the event of October 3, 2018 with more than 1,500 participants and an extensive line-up of music acts performing. In order to restage a protest event of this dimension in 2019, preparation began already in the early summer. The alliance Bündnis für ein weltoffenes und tolerantes Berlin provide support again with management of the event as well as supplying the stage and technical equipment.
The residents’ initiative held their kick-off event of the campaign to mobilize for the protests on October 3 at Berlin’s town hall, Rotes Rathaus. The mayor Michael Müller had been honoring the initiative the past August with the award “Band für Mut und Verständigung“. The campaign’s slogan “Den Nazis keine Mitte” and the confirmed musical acts by Rainald Grebe, Bernadette la Hengst and Gigo Flow as well as a speech by Ferda Ataman furthermore a debate on the topic and a reading, served as basis to start mobilizing the residents.
This long-term mobilization of Mitte’s residents helped to establish four further protest events at further locations within weeks before the rally. These were hosted by the alliance Berliner Bündnis gegen Rechts, a newly-established initiative of Berlin’s club scene, as well as a further residents’ initiative in cooperation with Omas gegen Rechts Berlin.
Many further organizations and corporations joined the protest event along the route leading from Hauptbahnhof to Friedrichstraße via Reinhardtstraße, a marching route which has previously been taken several times by right-wing extremists. Contributions were manifold, support was given in the form of help with management, technical equipment or personal commitment.
Very prominent commitment against neo-Nazis came from Friedrichstadt-Palast and Distel Kabarett-Theater, who are both partners within Berlin gegen Nazis network. Furthermore, WWF visibly positioned themselves from their office building right along the marching route. Together with further partners from the network, such as Marburger Bund, Distel Kabarett-Theater, DGB Berlin-Mitte and Fabrik Osloer Straße, Berlin gegen Nazis distributed information leaflets including the exact marching route in more than ten different languages to residents the day prior to the rally.
Despite the averse weather conditions, close to 1,000 participants joined the residents’ initiative’s event next to Friedrichstadt-Palast, setting colorful and diverse signals aginast the right-wing extremist rally, which proved to be very aggressive and ready to use violence. Especially the neo-Nazis forming the back of the march with about 1,000 participants threatened the supporters of the protest event, which included many senior citizen and children, chanting slogans such as “if we want to, we’ll beat you to death” (“Wenn wir wollen, schlagen wir euch tot”). A video documentation was published by JFDA and Gegneranalyse. At Friedrichstraße, the rally was accompanied continuously by counter-protests. At Checkpoint Charlie, Omas gegen Rechts Berlin together with commited residents impressively opposed the march of the neo-Nazis. At Alexanderplatz, too, where the march forund its endpoint, many Berliners loudly uttered their protest until the right-wing extremists departed.