After three days of being denied basic rights, our demonstration on Saturday was a grand success – a colorful and diverse group of 30,000 people, from all over Europe and even the world, protested resolutely against capitalism at its European headquarters. Signs were seen highlighting our location: Bankfurt, democracy-free zone.
This beautiful and strong demonstration was the end of a very difficult series of action days. Thousands from all of Europe flocked to Frankfurt to take the squares and block the ECB and other major financial institutions. We were met with total repression. With the exception of the final demonstration, all of our countless planned rallies, demonstrations, assemblies, cultural and educational programs and festivities were banned by the city. We were denied the constitutional right to assemble. We were denied our democratic right to expression. We were denied space to sojourn in the city – with the exception of autonomous student buildings, even the universities were shut down. Democracy was effectively prohibited. At the very least, we can ironically point to one consequence: if we were denied our protest, the police effectively blockaded the city for four days. The European capital of finance was shut down.
We called out to action days in Frankfurt against the austerity policies of the troika and governments. We called out to action and protest against the authoritarian politics implementing these policies. We were met with total repression by the German police. Over 1400* of us were taken into custody for attempting to assemble in the city. We have witnessed: the authoritarian politics are protected and upheld by violent police apparatuses. We have known about fortress Europe for some time, about the coupling of ruling interests and violence at the borders of the European Union. Now violent police repression of democracy has hit the heart of the beast. The police response to Blockupy Frankfurt, indeed a political response, has marked a new phase of repression in Germany.
Yet Blockupy has also marked a new phase of our protest. We achieved a pan-European mobilization; our demonstration was stronger than we could have predicted. We expressed our dissatisfaction with the status-quo, we showed the strength of our resistance, our collective resolution proved once again that another world is possible. Our struggles, our movements, our protests came together and shared the experience of common expression. And we will meet again.
We shouted: Against capitalism! Real democracy now!
It is just the beginning.
*Editor’s note: Original article stating 400 arrests has been corrected to the total count of over 1400.