Bonn The police and staff from Bonn's public order office were once again called out to the Poppelsdorfer Schloss at the weekend, where hundreds of people were partying. No criminal offences were committed according to the police. “It's absolutely unbelievable,” said one resident.
Poppelsdorfer Allee is a beautiful part of the city and has long been appreciated as Bonn's best location by those who live there. Now word is also spreading among night owls. The first warm spring evenings have seen the forceful return of a problem from last year. Large gatherings of people on both Saturday and Sunday nights have prompted the police and the public order office to intervene. The area in front of the Schloss and the nearby lawns are particularly popular with the mainly young people, confirmed Robert Scholten, spokesman for the Bonn police, to the General-Anzeiger on Sunday.
Alarm around midnight
According to Scholten, the police were alerted at around midnight on Friday evening. Reports were made of a "major altercation" of around 50 people near Venusbergweg, which was also confirmed by neighbours and witnesses. Upon the arrival of the police, who were also supported at the last minute by the federal police, the crowd dispersed and disappeared into the darkness. In their incident report on Sunday, the city authorities even spoke of "about 150 people" who had fled from the officers.
Inspection of the remaining 50 to 60 people revealed "no violations of the Corona Protection Ordinance", the city said. "As a result, we could not find any evidence of criminal offences," Scholten stated. Late on Saturday evening, the police had then supported the public order office after several hundred people had settled in front of the Poppelsdorfer Schloss. The public order office had asked for administrative assistance, the spokesperson said. Here, too, there were a lot of people in one place, but no criminal or violent acts were recorded. According to police, it is usually possible to curb the disturbances by addressing them directly. "The clientèle we meet at Poppelsdorfer Allee is mixed," Scholten said in reference to the groups that regularly gather there.
According to the city authorities, up to 150 people were partying at the Schlossplatz on Saturday evening. For the most part, these people complied with the Corona Protection Ordinance. When disturbances broke out on the Allee on Saturday evening, the area was cleared together with the police - but not without resistance: Two people were temporarily taken into custody. One youth was handed over to his parents and one person was taken into police custody. According to the report, it was quiet from around 1 a.m.
But accounts provided by the local residents are less calm. "I have never experienced what is going on here in my whole life. It's absolutely unbelievable," said a young father who rents a house within sight of the Poppeldorfer Schloss. He outlined his observations to the General-Anzeiger as follows: "From the benches at the upper end of the avenue, basses resound through the night, countless people stand in the front gardens and entrances and urinate wherever they please, completely unbothered by the police and the public order office. Masks are no longer being worn, distancing doesn’t matter.” For him, the experiences this weekend are “already a wonderful foretaste of what will be happening here in the coming months”.
Bonn police: no acts of violence
While the police explicitly stated upon request that there had been no acts of violence, reports to the contrary had been doing the rounds in the city over the weekend. Shouting had apparently been heard, including the word "knife", and emergency vehicles had been seen speeding down the avenue with flashing blue lights, among which an ambulance was also spotted. A common narrative, at least in the local neighbourhood, is that young people are regularly robbed of money or high-value mobile phones on the Allee at night. And the police also recently justified the use of video cameras on Poppelsdorfer Allee with a significantly high number of crimes.
Annette Standop, leader of the Green Party in the council group, spoke out at the weekend, not in her political capacity, but as a citizen: "When certain areas become hotspots for potentially violent groups, we cannot accept this". Apparently, it is no longer young people who meet at Poppelsdorfer Allee to party and drink, "which would not be allowed at the moment either, but mainly aggressive, stirred up groups of young men who insult and threaten one another and start fights," Standop said. Although the police and the public order office were on the scene quickly, this is not a permanent solution to the problem, she said.
(Original text: Rüdiger Franz, Translation: Caroline Kusch)