Press release 5.2.2008 (3. press conference)
5 Feb. 2008
Aktionsbündnis gegen die NATO-Sicherheitskonferenz
c/o Friedensbüro, Isabellastr. 6, 80798 München, Germany
In the mean time a final demonstration way could successfully be negotiated, here the story leading to that success, and the planned programm
= Report on the press conference by the "Alliance against the Security Conference"
= held: Tuesday, 5 February 2008, 11:00 a.m. in the EineWeltHaus, Munich
At their third press conference, on 5 Feb. 2008 in the EineWeltHaus, five representatives of the Aktionsbündnis gegen die NATO-Sicherheitskonferenz ("Action Alliance against the NATO Security Conference") reported on the planned protests, and the main topics of the counter-activities.
The central mass demonstration against the Security Conference on Saturday has still not been authorized by the local authorities. The route originally applied for by the Alliance, Marienplatz - Residenzstr. - Odeonsplatz (intermediate rally in front of the Residenz, the seat of the Bavarian State government) - Ludwigstr. - Von-der-Tann-Str. - Altstadtring - Maximilianstr. - Max-Joseph-Platz (final rally) had already been rejected by the authorities at a discussion on 21 January. The main reason for this rejection was a bottleneck (3.9 metres roadway and ca. 3 metres sidewalk width) at the corner of Max-Joseph-Platz and Residenzstr. Although the organizers of the protests could not see that there was any real hazard there, as a compromise, they applied for a revised route from the Max-Joseph-Platz via the Perusastr. and Theatinerstr. to the Odeonsplatz. However, the authorities also banned this route in a notice of 4 Feb., specifying that the protest march must run via Tal, Isartor, Altstadtring, Von-der-Tann, and Ludwigsstr. to Odeonsplatz. But this route is not acceptable to the organizers. "It is impossible to conduct a mass demonstration along this 2.5-km-long route from Marienplatz to Odeonsplatz within 30 minutes, and arrive in time for the planned rally in front of the Residenz," said Claus Schreer. This rally is directed against a state reception by the Bavarian prime minister in the Kaisersaal, the main stateroom of the Residenz.
The notice from the county authorities gave the following main reasons for banning the route applied for:
- Due to the "encircling" of the Residenz, the demonstrators would be able to block all the transfer routes from the Bayerischer Hof [where the conference is held] to the Residenz simultaneously. It must not be possible to implement an encirclement of the Residenz.
- A "siege" of the Residenz would create concrete risks for the theaters, restaurants, and businesses around the Max-Joseph-Platz. And it would also be impossible to use the underground parking garage there.
Therefore, the Alliance, as a final compromise offer, decided to dispense with the symbolic "encirclement" of the Residenz completely, and change the route to the Odeonsplatz again, so as to avoid all locations categorized by
the authorities as problematic. So on 4 Feb., a new route was applied for, leading from the Marienplatz via the Weinstr. and Theatinerstr. to the Odeonsplatz, where the demonstration ends with the rally in front of the Residenz. This route had been suggested by the local authorities themselves in a letter of 29 Jan.
"With this altered route, all the grounds for rejection given in yesterday's notice from the county authorities have become invalid," said Hagen Pfaff. "We have shown our willingness to compromise again, and in our eyes, there would be no grounds for a renewed ban on the route of the march applied for. Thus we are confident that the authorities will authorize an ordered protest march between the two rally sites along this route."
"We will not accept another route," said Manfred Mularzyk. "We have the right to demonstrate where the people at whom our protest is directed will hear it." If the route applied for is banned again, the organizers are considering appealling to the courts.
The subject matter of the protests was also discussed at the press conference. One focus of the Security Conference will be on stepping up NATO's combat activities in Afghanistan. Gerta Stählin said, "The Action Alliance is opposed categorically to an expansion of this combat mission, and demands the complete withdrawal of the Bundeswehr from Afghanistan."
Dick Forward announced that the Munich American Peace Committee will be awarding its "Peace Through Conviction" prize to the former U.S. soldier Chris Capps, who deserted following a tour of duty in Iraq, so as not to be deployed to Afghanistan.
A complete schedule of the activities against the Security Conference, together with a variety of protest material, can be found under: www.sicherheitskonferenz.de (or "www.security-conference.de")
A summary of the main events:
Freitag, 8 Feb.,
- 13:30: (satirical) pep-rally demo. from Stachus
- 16:00: Initial rally on Marienplatz
- 20:00: Peace Conference in Altes Rathaus (through Sunday)
Saturday, 9 Feb.,
- 16:00 Uhr: Main protest rally
- 18:00: Mass demonstration, Marienplatz -> Odeonsplatz
- 18:30: Final rally at Odeonsplatz
- 21:00: Concert Against War in Feierwerk disco
Speakers on Friday:
- Bahman Nirumand, Iranian-German political commentator
- Stephen Summers, Vietnam veteran and peace activist
- Andrea Licata, Institute of Peace Research, University of Trieste
- Michael Hofmann, Legal Team Europe
- Sarah Seeßlen, Munich Alliance Against War and Racism
Speakers on Saturday:
- Ernesto Cardenal, Nicaraguan poet and liberation theologist
- Tobias Pflüger, MEP, Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI)
- Ulla Jelpke, MP, domestic-policy spokeswoman of Die Linke in the Bundestag
- Sevim Dagdelen, DIDF (Federation of [Turkish] Democratic Workers' Societies)
- Oruc Dapar, YEK-KOM (Federation of Kurdish Societies in Germany)
- Ursel Quack, Interventionist Left
- Claus Schreer, Munich Alliance Against War and Racism
Peace award to Chris Capps, U.S. deserter
Artistic supporting program starting 14:00 on Marienplatz
And on both days:
- peace readings,
- music etc.
Lea-Won, Bushbayer, Die Ruam, ATTAC Choir