Wuppertal: Autonomous May 1st demonstration

Around 300 participants gathered at approximately 2pm in front of the Autonomous Centre in Wuppertal for the twenty-ninth May 1st demonstration since 1986. Many felt that the turnout was disappointing, because this year’s demo was primarily dedicated to sending out solidarity towards the victim of a recent fascist knife attack.

In the small hours of Saturday 11th April 2015, a visitor of the Autonomous Centre (AZ) in Wuppertal – a 53-year-old antifascist with Turkish migration background – was attacked in the street outside the AZ by several offenders and critically injured with numerous stab wounds in the back. Earlier, the same aggressors had provoked visitors of the AZ by shouting slogans of the HoGeSa Nazi group (“hooligans against salafists”). After the knife attack, the three men fled the scene. The wounded antifascist was brought quickly into the corridor of the AZ, where he was given first aid by his friends. The police rushed to the scene, only to delay the emergency medical assistance. In the course of the house search, they destroyed almost all doors of the building looking for suspects, and took first-aiders and witnesses of the incident into temporary custody. Unsurprisingly, all local media spread the police story, i.e. that the cops stormed the building threatening to use batons and pepper spray allegedly because the visitors of AZ had hindered the police forces from rescuing their severely injured friend. The latter has awakened from artificial coma since last week, and his condition has stabilised, but he still needs intensive medical care. In the meantime, according to statements from the AZ, the main perpetrator – a known HoGeSa Nazi – was taken into custody, while the names of his two accomplices also became known to the police.

During this year’s May Day demonstration, the repression forces acted in a restrained manner, with the exception of one motorcycle cop who drove provocatively through the demo, and a police cordon that blocked the way to a kiosk for a short while towards the end.

The demonstration ended at Schusterplatz, the central square in the Ölberg neighbourhood, where refugees had prepared food together with the solidarity group “Refugees Welcome 2 Wuppertal”. In one of the speeches that followed, solidarity was expressed with the attack against a police station on the occasion of the opening of new ECB headquarters in Frankfurt on 18th March 2015, when police vehicles were engulfed in flames. Finally, there was live music – among others, Lotta aus der Krachmacherstraße played her song “AZ bleibt! (Autonomous Centre stays!)”. Unfortunately, there was once again a lack of information-stands at the autonomous street festival.

After the march in Wuppertal, some visitors jointly organised a journey to the anarchist demo in Dortmund, and others traveled together to Essen to attend counter-protests against a Nazi rally.

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