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Action Report 2022
Political developments have brought the issue of gas, and in particular the planned LNG terminals, much more into the public and political attention. From the perspective of the action picture, not yet built terminals are a bigger challenge (what to block if there is nothing there yet?). From the discourse point of view, it brings the possibility that we can intervene now before the thing to be rejected is even there.
Four additional decisions as an alliance were decisive for the action and had a great impact on the camp and the days of action:
- Sabotage as a complementary form of action. At the same time, the new challenge of carrying this out on a mass scale.
- Instead of a camp, which mainly serves the preparation of actions, an important second focus was set with the decision of a movementbuilding camp.
- With the concept of movement space, we invited many other actors to participate with their actions.
- The fact that we, as an alliance, kept other topics open besides gas and anti-colonialism, such as anti-militarism or capitalist supply chains, etc., was very beneficial to us in planning our actions and in possible alliances with other actors.
All these building blocks helped to develop an action specific for this year and this context. Some things worked out very well, and in others external circumstances interfered.
So – but now: Let’s go!
To give us all an overview and insight into the action days, here is a short chronological report:
Even before the camp was supposed to start officially, the Camp working group and other people who helped with the registration process got into a legal fight with the city of Hamburg (specifically the assembly authority, which is the police there). The pattern is familiar: City: “System Change and climate activists? No way” We were like: “As if we would give a damn about your opinion…”. In the end, a court ruled in our favor, although we were not allowed to use the registered area in the city park (Stadtpark), but only the alternative area on Elly-See-Straße. Restriction such as: No water, no Küfa (open kitchen), no sleeping tents however were dropped.
As a kick-off for the camp and for the days of action, a small group got us in the mood by rappelling down the Elbe philharmonic with huge banners. “Exit Gas now!” was on one, “Fight Neocolonial Capitalism” on the other.
The start of the camp also marked the beginning of the hot phase of action preparation. Through networking in advance and the strong camp program, this was also the starting point for a week of intensive networking and learning spaces.
With the big alliance march titled “Stop LNG, sabotage fossil capitalism” we set a strong message in the center of Hamburg: With 3000 people, powerful shouts and powerful speeches it became clear what we think about the exploitative and climate destructive system: Absolutely nothing.
We continued with a (not so small) small group action that blocked the gates of the fertilizer producer Yara in Brunsbüttel, one of the planned LNG sites, on Thursday 11.8. Yara consumes 1% of the total amount of gas in Germany. The blockade was dissolved by the activists in a self-determined way and everyone could drive back to the camp.
Friday morning the green finger started in action. Almost 400 activists set off in buses to Wilhelmshaven, where they reached their destinations around 9:30 am: The majority of the finger blocked the pipeline pipe warehouse, where the pipes for the connector pipelines are prepared and bent. A smaller portion of the finger blocked the pipeline construction site. The police were completely unprepared for the action and were unable to stop even smaller groups that joined the action later. The two most central points of the construction project could be blocked for the entire Friday, the workers left the construction sites and were partly happy about the early end of work. In the late afternoon the finger decided to end the blockade and with the train and a fast demo from the train station back to the camp, reached the camp without any police action. Moreover, the pipeline camp was also blocked beyond the presence by damaging the construction machinery and pipes.
In Brunsbüttel on Friday a small group was stopped by the police on the way to their action for several hours and objects were confiscated. So they unfortunately could not carry out their action.
On Saturday morning three fingers with a total of 1600 activists left the camp. If “We shut shit down” had meant the LNG terminal on Friday, then on Saturday it meant the harbor, as a symbol of exploitation and fossil capital.
In Altona, the fingers separated from the march and headed individually to their destinations:
The Golden Finger took the S-Bahn to Neuwiedenthal to participate in a demonstration. The police stopped the demonstration several times, for example to get agitated about objects of sun protection such as umbrellas. In a suitable moment the finger abandoned the police and broke out of the demonstration to occupy the tracks of the central harbor railroad. These tracks are the only connection for freight traffic by rail to transport containers from the container terminals of the Port of Hamburg. Every day, 7670 containers are moved to or from the port via this port railroad. With the blockade of the golden & later still of the silver finger was able to block a good 3000 containers.
The police soon began to clear the area and were initially somewhat overwhelmed by the circumstances. This overwhelming was increased when some activists joined the blockade from the camp (see @Silberner Finger). Subsequently, however, the police tried to break up the blockade with the massive use of painful grips, kicks and blows, including with batons. The activists resisted, which also led to the fact that the freight traffic was put out of action for about 10 hours.
Demonstration medics, who had a lot to do due to police violence and heat, were lured out of the encirclement except for one, their equipment was taken away and they were expelled. The harassment in the basic care of activists was also evident in the supply of water. The evicted activists were treated on the spot by photo ID, a few activists were taken to the detention centre (Gesa), but released the same evening without ID determination.
Also with the S-Bahn and a registered demo the purple finger started from Heimfeld to the harbor area. Passing refinery sites and the armaments industry, the Finger headed for the Moorburg coal-fired power plant, which is currently shut down – but has been reintroduced into the current debate about its prolongation.
Not far from the power plant, the Purple Finger occupied both parts of the Kattwyk Bridge, the one for train traffic and the one for car/truck traffic. Since it is the longest lift bridge in Europe, traffic from large ships was also blocked. The police could not keep the activists away from the action target despite massive use of pepper spray & mace, batons and water cannons.
The smaller rail blockade was unfortunately cleared quite quickly by the police with massive use of force. The police first tried to end the blockade of the car/truck bridge by using batons, mace and pepper spray and then to force the activists to give up with water cannons. The activists defied this police shitshow and the police had to replace an empty water cannon without having achieved anything. Instead of giving in to the police’s threat of having to leave individually and with ID determination, the Purple Finger fought their way to a collective end of the blockade. The activists, who were tired and wet, could start their journey home by bus. The rest went as a closed finger back to the camp via S-Bahn and with the Pink Finger in a loud and powerful demo.
A few activists were taken to the detention centre (Gesa). Due to the violent police action, some activists had to be treated by demo paramedics or in hospital.
In the Purple Finger there were many international activists as well as people in wheelchairs. Unfortunately, there were some ableist statements by activists after the action. Here we see another important issue for action trainings, for the camp and for our movement itself.
After the joint demo start with Lila & Gold, the Pink Finger also arrived in the harbor area with about 500 activists. Just got out of the S-Bahn and off they went in the direction of the harbor. After a few kilometers of undisturbed way, however, the finger was encircled by the police and could only leave the static situation with a spontaneous announced demonstration.
After a few meters of demonstration, activists* of the finger broke out of the demo and tried to sit down on the tracks of a rail triangle. These tracks are compulsory for freight trains that want to reach the eastern part of the port, especially for the transshipment of cars and oil (products); which are located in the eastern terminals and refineries.
The police used massive force when activists broke out of the demonstration. Batons, pepper spray and horse squads were used, so that the finger was divided. Part of the blockade sat on top of the tracks, part right next to them. However, due to the proximity to the tracks, the blockade part that did not sit directly on the tracks also prevented rail operations.
The Pink Finger blockade was very dynamic for several hours. Thus, about 20 activists* were violently bludgeoned out of the blockade by the cops with batons and massive use of pepper spray. Afterwards, they were able to support the blockade from the outside. The eviction of the police was uncoordinated & slow, but very brutal. For example, pain grips were used under which one person became unconscious. Appropriate medical care & contact with paramedics was only made possible for the unconscious person after an intervention by a parliamentary observer. Additionally, activists were denied their own bathroom. In addition, individuals were deliberately pulled out of the blockades by the police. A ‘new’ rail blockade by about 20 activists, which formed during the already existing one, was quickly cleared by a horse squadron.
After the people on the rail were treated at length with identification measures, and the activists* of the meadow pot were filmed, the finger started its way home. Since the activisti* were only allowed to leave the scene in small groups, they all waited at the Wilhelmsburg train station to start the collective journey back to the camp. From the station Altona we went back to the camp with a demo, where on the way the returnees were collected by the Purple Finger. The Pink Finger says: “on the way back: a lot of love for the reunion with Lila and the welcome in the camp <3”.
Another little finger spontaneously formed from the camp, which also reached the port track blocked by Gold and went to play another blockade point not far from the Golden Finger. The confused cops did not know for an hour who they had to take care of now and how all this could have happen… Similar to the Golden Finger, this one too was violently cleared. The detention centre numbers are included in the detention centre numbers of the Golden Finger.
XR small group
The east-west connection of the harbor runs next to the Kattwyk Bridge over the Köhlbrand Bridge. This car & truck only bridge was blocked by a small group of XR for several hours. This group had prepared a bathtub of concrete and lock ons and used it to create a blockade on the bridge that was difficult for the police to clear. Thus, the simultaneous blockade of Lila also blocked two of the central traffic junctions across the Süderelbe. From the point of view of the small group and from our point of view, it was a perfect complement of blockades.
Overall, the port’s capitalist flow of goods was powerfully disrupted and blocked that day. All activists who were taken to the detention centre (Gesa) stuck to their ID refusal and were released the same evening.
The camp and the action days were also caught up in current developments: the city of Hamburg had withdrawn the legal status of some refugees and expelled them from their accommodations. This became known on Thursday at the camp and so a demo was planned for Sunday parallel to the actions and with or by various groups. Under the slogan “Hamburg to a safe haven! §24 for all Refugees” hundreds of people demonstrated in downtown Hamburg for a safe right to stay for all refugees.
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As Action working group, we were and are very overwhelmed by what a strong and brilliant camp was set up, what diverse and profound content could be shared at the camp. We are impressed with what dedication we all used the city of Hamburg as camp and action area. And it is brilliant how many people have taken on important and often invisible support tasks in the most diverse places. All this made it possible for many activists to go into action in a self-determined way and to carry their courage for climate justice and their anger against the exploitative system into the streets.
We Shut shit down! was set as a slogan in the run-up to the event and was magnificently implemented by all activists.