This is the other one…
We went to Lübeck over the weekend for a short (24 h) trip. It is a beautiful city. It is very similar to Lüneburg as far as architecture is concerned, but it is a bit bigger. In the 14th century it was the richest and most important city of the Hanseatic League. If you are in northern Germany, it is worth a trip, after visiting Lüneburg, of course.
In the past 2 weeks, I can specifically recall 3 instances when I ordered a beer and didn’t get a beer mat under my glass when it came to the table. I thought it was strange because, although it is not a travesty to go without a beer mat, it’s considered “good form” for the wait staff to set one under the glass when bringing you your beer.
But now the economic crisis is threatening the beer mat — and unnerving its fans. The world’s biggest beer mat company, Katz Group, has declared itself bankrupt. Tucked away in Weisenbach in the south-west of Germany, Katz Group, which was founded as a sawmill in 1716, had been in the beer mat business since 1903. Katz International Coasters controlled around two-thirds of the European market and 97 percent of the US market.
Photo by Patrick Limbach
On Saturday a group of Neonazis were supposed to protest “against left-wing violence” in Lüneburg.
Reports vary about how many nazis showed up. It was somewhere between 250 and 300. The DGB (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund) organized a counter-demonstration that marched peacefully from the St. Lambertiplatz to the Bastion park. This consisted of over 2000 Lüneburgers, defiantly protesting against the presence of right-wing radicals in their city and elsewhere.
How it went down…
The peaceful anti-nazi march started at around 10:30am and went off without a hitch. The Nazi’s march was scheduled to start at the train station at 1pm. Their route was completely blocked by heavy steel barricades and hundreds of police officers in full riot gear that were brought in from all over the region. They weren’t playin’ either.
They were blocking streets, bridges, alleys and sidewalks. We were essentially blocked from going home because our house found itself essentially in a kind of no man’s land between the 2 different permitted routes.
Why did the police have the fine city of Lüneburg on lockdown? Well, also present in the city at the time was the so-called “Schwarzer Block“. They consist of ultra left-wing anarchist protesters that wear all black and have a penchant for breaking windows, setting cars on fire and just generally stirring up shit. They also love to beat Nazis. And the Nazis love to beat them. The cops try their hardest to isolate the two groups but sometimes they manage to collide and show their love for each other by beating the hell out of each other.
So, while the police were busy rounding up anybody wearing black, another group of plain-clothed citizens staged a peaceful Sitzblockade, or sit-in, blocking the bridge that leads to the train station. And because the police wouldn’t let the Nazis get in contact with the protestors, this basically blocked the nazis from entering the city and the police didn’t let them leave the train station.
After a few hours the police started to forcefully remove the protesters from the bridge by carrying them off one by one. This took some time because every time the police would pick up a protester, Lüneburgers standing off to the side would yell and scream and make a racket, making the police extra cautious.
Meanwhile back at the ranch….
A few blocks a way at the train station the Nazis were getting restless; all that hate just simmering. Finally, the police offered them an alternative route to follow, but they refused. So the police cancelled the nazi march. Then a few of the nazis got out of hand and attacked some of the police officers and some other verboten shit went down. Then the police put all the non-arrested non-beaten down nazis on the next train and sent them out of town.
Now some of you might be asking the obvious question. If the nazi march was blocked and then finally cancelled just like that, why issue a permit and allow it to happen in the first place saving millions of taxpayer Euros? Yeah, well, you can debate this all day until you are blue in the face, but in the end, it basically boils down to this: democracy is complicated.
Aside from the political implications, think of the surrealism that happens on the edge of these kinds of events. Could you imagine if you were a tourist, wanting to spend your nice beautiful Easter weekend in Lüneburg, only to get here and find this crazy bullshit going down? Well, that happened to quite a few people. They showed up in town expecting to have a little Kaffee & Kuchen with the wife and kids and do a little shopping, but what the fuck!? Nazis!? Protests!? Police!? Helicopters hovering overhead!? Then they probably said, “fuck this shit, we’re going home.” Ha! But no! The main roads and the train station are blocked by Nazis and cops. They’re trapped here until the circus is over. Bwahahahaha!
Can you imagine being on a train heading towards your final destination and as you stop in Lüneburg, the doors open and 250 skinhead Nazis get on? Imagine being a foreign tourist, not speaking a lick of German, and 250 pissed-off aggro and belligerent fucking nazis get in the train.
As an aside, I think it would be comedy gold to have somebody dress up like Hitler or have a Hitler puppet when the Nazis march by and yell stuff at them through a megaphone like, “This is it? This is what’s left of my thousand year reich? All 250 of you? This is pathetic. You all make me sick. You are an embarrassment to the Fatherland. What’s with the shaved heads? Was there an lice outbreak in the barracks? And who the fuck is Thor Steinar anyway?”
Hmmm. Seriously, that could be a great bit. If you are politically inclined and can do a good Hitler, take it. It’s yours.
Video from Graswurzel.tv
My photos of the day’s events.
Photos from a guy named Patrick Limbach. He was in the middle of the action and got some good shots.
Photos from Recherche Nord
Story from the Lüneburg website with pictures (German)
Story from Spiegel (German)
Story from The Local (English)
GET OFF MY LAWN!!!
I’m really a nice guy. I strive to get along with all peoples. At least it wasn’t as bad as pissing through my mail slot. I was sitting at my computer and I heard noises in front of my house. I opened my front door to find a few of our potted plants stacked up directly in front of our door and a guy with a shit-eating grin caught red-handed. Due to the way the pots were arranged, this means if we were to nonchalantly walk out our door tomorrow, we would probably have tripped over the flowers and hurt ourselves. Maybe, maybe not.
I just hate it when people fuck with my shit. Especially when it is the beautiful little urban garden that M. spent so much time planting. Goofy pranks, okay, but if it leads to injury? Not cool.
Anyway, I had some strong words with the guy, and then told him to fuck off. This resulted in a bit of a Mexican standoff. The cool part is that I can yell at the asshole in English and it really freaks him out.
And wouldn’t you know it, not 5 minutes later, I hear noises again. I open the door and catch his jack-off friend doing the same thing. I chased him off as well.
Now, I’m writng this.