Vaccination protests: why these escalations in Schweinfurt, Saarbrücken and many places?

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During a demonstration on Sunday evening, a woman from the “lateral thinker” milieu tried to overcome a police cordon – with her child as a protective shield. Four protesters were sentenced by a court the day after. What’s going on there?

Why these escalations in Schweinfurt and many places?

A woman with a stroller tries to break through a police line. In that car of the 27-year-old from the “lateral thinker” milieu is four-year-old child. According to the police, attempts are being made to prevent the woman and other participants in their plan, and the police are using pepper spray. The child comes into contact with it – in pictures, apparently taken with the cell phone, you can see how he screams in pain.You can also see how officials take care of the child and provide him with medical care. “Shame on yourselves” shouts can be heard in the background.

The pictures are from Sunday evening, shortly after seven o’clock, from an unregistered meeting in Schweinfurt. They can probably be regarded as the previous negative climax in a series of protest events from the “lateral thinker” milieu in the industrial city of Lower Franconia. It is true that the child did not injure himself sustainably. After an eye wash, the child was “symptom-free” again after a few minutes, emphasize the emergency services. But a mother dragging her child to some sort of event that saw violence in the same place two weeks earlier? A police spokesman said that the woman was reported to have been reported. And of course, in such cases, a report is also sent to the youth welfare office.

Police Commissioner Andy Laacke was there – also not registered – gathering of so-called anti-vaccination opponents 14 days ago, when a new escalation level seemed to have already been reached. On that day, a man from a group of people punched a police officer in the face and the officer was lacerated. The 27-year-old was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment the following day by accelerated proceedings at the Schweinfurt district court. A 29-year-old was sentenced to six months in prison after attempting to kick officers in the head. Two men were arrested for attempting to set fire to a civilian police vehicle with an accelerator. Anything but a quiet course of the protest – with, one might think,

The attacks on the police officers came out of the blue

Two weeks later, however – this time not 2000, but 2500 people came to Schweinfurt – Commissioner Laacke has now perceived an even “much more aggressive clientele”. A hostility that the police perceived in the past at nationally heated rallies, such as the right-wing extremist marches in Wunsiedel or around the Munich Security Conference. Out of the blue, as it were, protesters attacked officials in Schweinfurt. And apparently about it, pictures taken with the mobile phone are circulating on the social media. You can see how officials form a chain to prevent “anti-vaccination opponents” from moving up – due to the pandemic, only stationary protests were permitted. And you can see how the officials are actually being attacked out of nowhere.

A total of eight police officers were injured by punches and kicks in such attacks on Sunday. In the relevant forums, however, the talk afterwards was primarily of “pools of blood” that resulted from the deployment of the emergency services. In fact, a 50-year-old – the officer of the riot police seriously attacked when they set up a cordon chain – sustains a head wound in one of the attacks recorded in the picture and has to be treated in a clinic.

He and six other people will be arrested later that evening. She is being investigated for resistance to law enforcement officers, assault, assault against police officers. And again the investigative authorities resort to a means that is permissible according to the Code of Criminal Procedure if “the matter is suitable for immediate hearing based on the simple facts or the clear evidence”. 14 days earlier, this procedure was permissible from the point of view of the judicial authorities, there was apparently sufficiently informative video material that less than 24 hours later two previously unpunished men had been sentenced to suspended sentences. One of the purposes of such rapid proceedings, of course – the often assumed higher deterrent effect,

The participants apparently rock each other up

On the contrary. You can see that the clientele “radicalizes from demonstration to demonstration”, says Commissioner Laacke and attributes this primarily to the “communication in the relevant environment” – the participants apparently rock each other up. Jürgen Köhnlein from the German Police Union states that small children are “repeatedly” spotted at demonstrations, and that this is apparently done “with the parents fully calculated”.

His colleague Thorsten Grimm calls the development “extremely dangerous”, one must be careful that the overall situation does not escalate completely. He calls the fact that a mother is apparently abusing a child as a “protective shield” an “act of inhumanity”. And demands legal consequences in order to be able to forbid such “pseudo-walks”. Administrative offense proceedings were initiated against 44 people on Sunday because they had not adhered to any restrictions – mask requirement, distance ban, only stationary gathering.

This time, four protesters were sentenced to expedited proceedings: a 34-year-old was sentenced to a suspended sentence (six months) for assaulting law enforcement officers, among other things, a 25-year-old was sentenced to a suspended sentence (eight months) for bodily harm, and a 22-year-old for resisting law enforcement officers to a fine and a 50-year-old to a suspended sentence (twelve months) for attempted bodily harm and assault on law enforcement officers, among other things.

If you ask around there, you will hear a lot of perplexity. This industrial city was never one of the wealthy regions in Bavaria, but it is by no means structurally weak. The fact that right-wing extremists are trying to gain a foothold in the north of Lower Franconia is documented – an eighth man arrested on Sunday can also be assigned to this milieu, he carried a knife with him. But Schweinfurt as a right-wing extremist hotspot? There is no evidence of this, says a police spokesman. She then spreads her warnings about any follow-up events: “Distance yourself from rioters and criminals! Do not allow right-wing extremists, ‘Reichsbürgern’ and anti-Semites to coax you.”

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