Experience report on dumpster diving

During the night of 16 to 17 March 2019, people were prevented from dumpster diving in Sindorf near Hambach Forest and were violently attacked by the police and taken into custody.
This report is the result of a conversation with the concerned.


They report that on that Saturday, as is so often the case, they went to save food from the trash. They reported that during that week they had found particularly much of food of long durability, such as several bottles of olive oil, lentils and a bulging shopping cart full of wheat tortillas. Hard to believe that these things should really end up in the garbage.

They told us, that they were noticed by passers-by who consequently contacted the police. Shortly thereafter, several officers stormed the parking lot. In the course of this, a person was pursued with pepper spray over the parking lot and then nudged head first against a wall, brought to the ground and tied up there. The gate to the parking lot was closed, so they had to wait until somebody came with a key to open it. Meanwhile, the police tried to push the tied up person, who had been laying on the cold floor all the time, through the narrow gap under the gate. When this failed, they briefly thought of lifting the person over the fence with sharp edges, until the gate could then be opened. Subsequently, the people were removed and transported in individual patrol cars in police custody (GESA) to Kerpen.

The people reported they had been locked up in individual cells there. Everyone had to undress and they were searched again. One person reported having had to spread their buttocks to have a drug control done.
Another one reported that all but their panties and undershirt had been removed. On request, this person received a polyester body suit instead.

In the course of the night, all detained were led out of their cells several times in succession, to take a Fast-ID and an identity check via fingerprints, photos and body measurements.
Several of them were forcibly forced to undergo the measures. The reports describe the application of pain grips, sometimes by several officers at once. That they pressed people on their facial nerves, ignoring warnings that this could lead to paralysis. Likewise, a statement was reported, made by a female officer: if that still would not work now, she would come too and jump on the person’s arm, adding that it might break that way.
Someone else told that an officer threatened to grab in their eyes and quoted his statement as follows: „I hate to grab in eyes, it always feels like touching a corpse.“

The people told us also, that the charge was explained to them later and only on demand, and that it was trespassing and severe theft.
That there was no opportunity for a vegan meal after a night in custody.
That the carried rucksacks were confiscated as stolen goods.
And that also a jacket and gloves “disappeared”.
That all persons were released after a little more than 12 hours. Unfortunately, personal details have been found at one person, who was brought before a magistrate and only released after that.

The people who encouraged us to write this report want to draw attention to the problem of food waste and the criminalization of saving thrown away food. Each year about one third of all food produced in Germany is thrown away. Saving food from garbage is seen as a criminal act and the throwing away is normalised. Food is food as long as it is not moldy! To construct the charge of a serious theft of it, that’s no way at all. The affected people want to use this reporting to ask everyone to go for dumpster diving. Go behind the supermarkets, get the food and do not be intimidated! Food saving is an active political act!

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