Friday, May 02, 2008

May Day Mayday

Ok, so one might want to downplay the self-proclaimed triumph of the organisers of yesterday's Neo-Nazi rally in Hamburg, which escalated into full-scale riots featuring levels of violence not seen for a long time. However, police reactions to the brown mob's sheer viciousness affirm the overall sense that what happened yesterday should give us serious pause.

According to Hamburg Police Superintendent Werner Jantosch, without the interference of the police, there might have been fatalities. The fascist mob not only engaged in a battle with the left-wing counter-demonstrators that took several hours, but also hounded journalists deemed "left-wing" and subsequently hijacked two commuter train cars on the line between Pinneberg and Hamburg, using the train's intercom to broadcast racist messages.

How come, then, that all the Bavarian President Günther Beckstein has to say about things is to repeat the old chestnut of the growing danger of "left-wing violence" and the need to "put a stop to their games" in advance (by keeping known "Gewalttäter" -- perpetrators of violence -- from travelling to demonstrations). The problem is: not only are many so-called "Autonome" of dubious political affiiliation -- more hooligan than radical ; he's also either not recognising, or deliberately avoiding the fact of the violence coming from the extreme right (not least in his own backyard).

When will they ever learn?

No, May Days in Germany aren't quite as charming as those in Britain.

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