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Hey folks! Between 12 000 and 15 000 anti-Bush demonstrators in Mainz [View All]

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neweurope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-23-05 01:31 PM
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Hey folks! Between 12 000 and 15 000 anti-Bush demonstrators in Mainz
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to-day! Just returned and still shivering - freezing temperatures, snow almost all day -, but very happy indeed! 5 000 - 6 000 demonstrators had been expected. After all: Highways and bridges closed, a lot of trains not running, winter weather and a work day... 15 000 people! (say we, the police says 12 000). And that was only one demonstration; there were 40 demonstrations against Bush to-day in Germany! Peace movement, critics of globalization and environmental activists.

What made me happy most of all: About four fifth were very young people. We always said that generation wasn't interested in politics at all; it seems the Iraq war has changed that once and for all :)

If you aren't interested in details don't read on... We got up at 5 (the demonstration was scheduled to begin at noon and we live only an hour away but after 9 the whole region was supposed to be shut down). When we arrived in Mainz we saw police all over the place (15 000 were there) - but after half an hour we had only seen ONE citizen on the streets. Shops were closed; it was like a ghost town.

At 11 o'clock we thought that we'd be about a thousand; but it turned out that they were holding some buses back (police controls), and the good people of Mainz came only right on time. We couldn't believe our eyes as the streets suddenly crowded!

People were very creative. One poster we saw a number of times said "God bless America - with reason". Police confiscated 12 posters that showed a picture of Bush saying "Terrorist No. 1" - slandering a foreign head of states is punishable. It was funny that they confiscated it from a US-citizen, too :) As it turned out that "Terrorist No. 1"-Poster was all over the place, though, and after long negotiations (it's always good to have lawyers along) they gave up on confiscating.

First there was a (long) rally with speeches and music; being handicapped I was afraid I wouldn't make it through but it went very well; everybody was nice and considerate. The police were on their best behavior, evidently scared like hell that it would turn violent. Every police de-escalation team of Germany must have been there *g* One speaker compared the Bush-visit to Kennedy who people cheered while Bush had to be driven through absolutely empty streets in a region which was practically under martial law.

After-wards we walked through the streets; of course we didn't come anywhere near where Bush was. The citizens of Mainz had been told not to open windows that day... some cheered us on nevertheless. There were even a couple of floats! One - very young people - was very impressive: In front one guy in US uniform, another dressed and made-up like death, both beating large oil-barrels like drums; on top a wire cage like those at Guantanamo with an orange-clad "prisoner" and a girl in US-uniform "beating" him with a whip, behind them an other "death" complete with scythe... you may not want to hear this but I was so proud of our young ones!

Half way through I had a shock though - on a balcony (of course police were filming us and taking photos, you know the routine) was a German ARMY guy videotaping us! ARMY at a demonstration... that's new and very very scary. I couldn't trust my eyes and went up to the police and asked them - yes, army.

After-wards there was another rally. Among other things a letter of two Fallujah citizens was read which touched my heart - demanding an international investigation. When a hip hop group came on I was afraid I'd need a heart massage any minute and because I was all tired out we left :). But I'm just hearing the very end was peaceful, too.

By the way: The "town hall meeting" the Americans had wanted didn't take place because even our ministry of foreign relations said they wouldn't go for pre-fabricated questions and answers :) - couldn't be done in Germany. And there was a pro-Bush demonstration (organized by an American): 20 people :)

Hope I haven't bored you... *still smiling*


Remember Fallujah

Bush to The Hague!

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