Bonn · After hundreds protested against racism on Saturday, even more people gathered on the Münsterplatz on Sunday. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ demonstrations were not the only ones in the city centre this weekend.
It was a weekend of demonstrations in the city centre. The largest was held by the Bonn youth movement, who protested against racism on the Münsterplatz on Saturday - according to the police there were around 600 participants, while the organisers spoke of 1000 demonstrators. The protests were part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, which is calling for worldwide protests after the fatal attack of a US policeman on the African American George Floyd. “The atmosphere was absolutely overwhelming”, said co-organiser Michael Hindert. The silence held in memory of Floyd was particularly touching. “We held a period of silence for 8.46 minutes, which was fully observed.” 8.46 minutes was the amount of time that the policeman held his knee on Georg Floyd's neck until his pulse stopped.
“You can't ignore racism, and we are now creating a platform with the demos,” explained Miran Mahmod from the Bonn youth movement at a second ‘Black Lives Matter’ rally on Sunday. Moderator Felix Azadi spoke on the Münsterplatz of repeated police violence against migrants, also in Germany. “My own experience is that the police don't help me because of the colour of my skin.” According to Azadi, police officers go in harder with people of colour than with whites. The one-hour demonstration ran smoothly and the approximately 60 participants observed social distancing rules. Afterwards, 20 demonstrators took the train to Cologne to participate in a large demonstration at Neumarkt.
On Saturday, the action alliance ‘Grenzenlose Solidarität’ (Borderless Solidarity), which includes Amnesty International, Sea-Eye and Seebrücke, also demonstrated in the city centre. “We want to draw attention to the precarious situation in the Mediterranean, and today we are also demonstrating for the rescue ship Alan Kurdi, which is being held in Palermo,” explained Kai Echelmeyer from Sea-Eye Bonn. According to the initiative, more than 40,000 people are stranded on the Greek islands and are being forced to live in “inhumane” conditions. So far, however, the Federal Ministry of the Interior has blocked the further admission of refugees in Germany. “We demand that the city of Bonn does more at state and federal level to make it a safe haven,” said Echelmeyer.
The three-hour protest march, in which 100 demonstrators took part, led from Münsterplatz via Friedensplatz and Bertha-von-Suttner-Platz to Konrad-Adenauer-Platz. A smaller demonstration took place on Saturday afternoon on the Kaiserplatz under the motto ‘Meditation for the Constitution’ (Meditation für das Grundgesetz). 120 participants were registered but significantly fewer took part. One banner read “Social distance is inhuman” and another rejected mandatory vaccinations. According to the police there were no incidents at any of the events.
(Original text: Niklas Schröder, Translation: Caroline Kusch)