BBC. 30 January 2002. Munich plans protest ban.
The German city of Munich could see a ban on all demonstrations at the weekend, as police warn that planned protests against a high-level defence meeting could descend into the kind of violence seen in the Italian city of Genoa last summer. City authorities are due to decide on Wednesday on the police application to outlaw all protests. Representatives of the groups organising the demonstrations have said they will take legal action against any ban, which they say would infringe their civic rights. Police expect about 5,000 people to converge on Munich to protest against the conference which will discuss the fight against terrorism and Nato expansion. One city official said the police recommendations would carry substantial weight in the discussions on whether to impose a ban. Wilfried Blume-Beyerle said there was evidence to support the imposition of a ban, but that officials would have to "balance the duty to protect citizens against the freedom to demonstrate." The Alliance against Nato, which is organising the protests under the slogan "From Genoa to Munich," said that a city-wide ban on demonstrations would infringe the constitutional right to freedom of expression and assembly. It said it was confident that the constitutional court would not uphold any ban. Munich authorities say that between 2,000 and 3,000 protesters bent on violence are expected over the weekend. On Tuesday, the US warned American citizens in the city to be alert to potential dangers. Three thousand officers, as well as water canon, armoured personnel carriers and special commandos are set to be deployed on Friday. Spaces are being cleared to allow for the detention of 300 people. Many protesters are expected to arrive from Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands and the Bavarian Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein is reported to have considered suspending the Schengen Agreement, which allows people to move freely across many of Europe's borders. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Barry Stoller http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ProletarianNews