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Climate camp in Hamburg: Police expect “largest operation since G20”

Hamburg Venue dispute

Climate camp in Hamburg – police speak of “largest operation since G 20”

Published on 08/04/2022

Protest camp in Hamburg during the G-20 summit in 2017. The case of the planned climate camp is reminiscent of the debates from back then Protest camp in Hamburg during the G-20 summit in 2017. The case of the planned climate camp is reminiscent of the debates from back then

Protest camp in Hamburg during the G-20 summit in 2017. The case of the planned climate camp is reminiscent of the debates from back then

Source: pa/Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa

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Up to 6000 participants are expected at the climate camp in Hamburg. In addition to workshops, lectures and a large demo, actions of “civil disobedience” are also planned. A legal tug of war broke out between the city and the organizers over the meeting. In the end, the sleeping tents were allowed.

SClimate activists have been drumming up drums for a protest camp in Hamburg for weeks. The groups are planning civil disobedience actions related to the “System Change Camp” (9 to 15 August 2022), but also workshops and lectures. Around 4,000 to 6,000 participants are expected, and a large demo is to move from the Landungsbrücken to the city center on August 10th. The police speak of the “biggest operation since the G20”. Police forces from other federal states are also requested.

It is a colorful mixture of groups, including groups such as “Ende Gelände”, which the Office for the Protection of the Constitution describes as being infiltrated by extremists, as well as radical left-wing groups such as the “Interventionalist Left Hamburg”. According to the Hamburg police, extremists are “not formative” for the meeting, Fridays-for-Future and the Green Youth also take part.

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More radical protests threatened

The protest camp is directed against the construction of new terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and against fossil energy supply. In the days before there was now a violent legal tug of war – also about the question of what legal protection the infrastructure around a meeting enjoys.

City appeals court decision

The climate protesters had chosen the fairgrounds in Hamburg’s Stadtpark as their meeting place and were planning to set up two larger and two smaller circus tents, 40 supply and event tents, sleeping tents, field kitchens and fresh water and waste water infrastructure there. The assembly authority, which is based at the police, prohibited this and referred the organizers to a replacement area in the Altonaer Volkspark, a wasteland.

The green and recreational areas in the city park would be severely damaged by the seven-day use – this is how the authority justified the relocation. The authority also banned sleeping tents and other infrastructure. The administrative court partially overruled this decision in an urgent procedure.

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According to the court, the climate camp is “with a high degree of probability” to be classified as an assembly protected by Article 8 of the Basic Law and the Assembly Act. This includes the infrastructural facilities of the climate camp, because there is a connection to the content of the statement of opinion intended by the camp. The relocation of the meeting from the fairgrounds in the city park to the area at the Altonaer Volkspark, on the other hand, was “not objectionable”. The formation of opinions can also take place there. The city then appealed against the court decision – and was also told by the Higher Administrative Court that sleeping tents were allowed.

Higher Administrative Court allows sleeping tents

The reasoning for the judgment reads as follows: “The Higher Administrative Court also assumes, taking into account the examination density that is only possible in the proceedings for preliminary legal protection, that the possibility of participating in the ‘Climate Camp’, which is designed as an event lasting several days, currently depends on an infrastructure that is to be set up temporarily should, who then also participate in the protection of freedom of assembly. That includes simple accommodation in tents.” This saying is now unchallengeable.

The case is reminiscent of the debates surrounding the G-20 summit five years ago. At that time, the police had forbidden meetings on the Entenwerder peninsula. This was unlawful, the administrative court ruled five years later in May 2022.

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