On 28.06.2018, the Hambach Forest between Cologne and Aachen was cleared of barricades. Some people from the movement would like to make a press statement.
At 9:15 the police entered the forest. The contact officer had previously called and informed us that there will be a large-scale police operation to clear the access routes of RWE forces, under the protection of the police. Furthermore, it was announced that RWE forces will confiscate “dangerous items” if necessary. What then followed went far beyond that. There were transgressions not only of interpersonal but also of legal limits, so that in our view the action must once again be regarded as a targeted attempt to provocate and divide the movement. Once again, facts are distorted to justify the incidents to the public.
The press release of the Aachen police says:
“In addition to RWE’s barricade clearances, the forest floor was also inspected off the paths. Employees of the responsible authorities (Kolpingstadt Kerpen, Gemeinde Merzenich, Rhein-Erft- Kreis) and the police jointly assessed all objects found as bulky waste. These included plastic tarpaulins, pallets, wood, metal poles and old furniture. On behalf of the responsible regulatory authorities, RWE transported a total of 140 m³ of refuse in over 17 trucks today alone”.
We want to make a correction here:
Tearing down sleeping and storage areas (tents, constructions, etc.), declaring them as bulky waste and then carting them out of the forest is a farce that is unacceptable. In the course of “barricade clearance” in search of “dangerous objects”, structures were deliberately destroyed and subsequently presented as “garbage” in the press report of the Aachen police.
Another quote from the press release of the Aachen police:
“In the interests of transparency, an attempt was also made to enter into dialogue with the residents of the Meadow, but talks were rejected.
It must be made clear that the police have illegally gained access to the legal meadow camp. The police justified the breach of the law with the “execution of danger”. In a situation where police hundreds gain access to people’s private rooms and then demand communication, the behaviour of the meadow dwellers is more than legitimate.
“But it must be clear to everyone that the forest must be freely and above all safely accessible to everyone and that if disruptions and crimes occur, the officials will continue to intervene consistently!”
The forest is accessible to all civilians at all times, in contrast to the statement of the Aachen police, we are happy about conversations and discussions. The barricades are usually portrayed as dangerous but they primarily serve to protect the forest, to make clearing more difficult, and to protect against arbitrary violence by the police and the security company Mundt commissioned by RWE.
To the topic why we don’t want the police in the forest, there was already a detailed article on our blog.
“A puppy dog ran to the contact policeman during the evacuation work, who assured the activists by telephone that they could pick him up without police control. Here with it came with the collection of the puppy to a break of this promise and the activist was held over 90min by the police with handcuffs. And was only allowed to leave again after providing personal details.”
Note: It is consensus in the Hambacher Forest not to maintain contact with the Police. People doing so were asked to leave. The “institution” of contact policeman has been established after years of public critique of Forestry Ministry and Law enforcement for not engaging forest activists in discussion. It has been put in place only after events in which forest activists have been seriously injured, including by a moving vehicle by RWE security and consists of calling Hambacher Forest published numbers 15 minutes as the police is already on the way, before their appearance in the forest. Contact cops are not just “good cop” PR tools but also intelligence assets in charge of contacts and extracting information from anybody willing to talk to them. They are not legally obligated to honor any promises they make and often will say anything towards a strategic end in sight. Like for example doing everything possible that RWE continues to profit by wrecking our Planet. So much for public safety!