On the closing weekend of the IAA Mobility In Munich, thousands of people took to the streets against the trade fair and the auto industry. The demonstrations reached a numerical peak on Saturday. The police spoke of a total of around 14,500 participants in a bicycle rally and a demonstration march to Theresienwiese, the organizers of around 25,000. Again there were clashes between activists and the police. Overall, however, the weekend was quieter than Friday, on which there had been numerous blockade actions.
In particular, the rally was peaceful and trouble-free, the police said. During the demonstration on Saturday, however, there was a confrontation on two trees occupied by activists, during which batons and pepper spray were used. The police justified this by saying that they had been harassed. Activists criticized the use.
An alliance that included the ADFC, Attac, BUND, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Greenpeace and the Verkehrsclub Deutschland had invited to the rally and demonstration. They demanded “a clear move away from the car-dominated transport policy and priority for pedestrian, bicycle and local traffic”.
Just a “greenwashing event”?
The IAA has been accompanied by protests since it started. Several motorways around Munich were blocked on the opening day. Activists accuse the fair of being a “greenwashing event”, meaning that they only want to create an ecological impression. They also announced that they wanted to disrupt similar events.
Meanwhile, a debate broke out over the police operation and protests. Activists accused the police of using unnecessary force and spoke of numerous injuries on their side. In addition, they criticized a “systematic restriction of fundamental freedoms”. The Greens in the Bavarian state parliament demanded that the deployment be comprehensively processed. Several politicians from the party accompanied the demonstrations as “parliamentary observers” and made critical comments about the use of force by the police.
The Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann, on the other hand, praised the deployment concept: It had “proven itself excellently”. The police intervened consistently and set an example “that we do not tolerate any legal vacancies here in Bavaria,” said the CSU politician. Riots under the guise of freedom of assembly would not be tolerated.
As of Sunday morning, the Ministry of the Interior had recorded 87 arrests or detentions. A total of 144 criminal charges were filed, 16 more for administrative offenses.
The police, who were on duty with 4,500 officers, also drew a positive conclusion. Most of the events and meetings went without any significant disruption, said Police Vice President Michael Dibowski. However, it made him thoughtful “that in some cases necessary police measures were only followed after the threat or the use of coercive measures”. He emphasized, however, that the officers “only took coercive police measures when it was really necessary and the situation could not be resolved communicatively”.
Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet also spoke up about the protests. At the CSU party conference on Saturday in Nuremberg, he said: “This is the greenest IAA that has ever existed.” Never before has there been so much talk of climate neutrality, sustainability and environmental protection. “The fact that people are still demonstrating, blocking roads and fighting this industry shows that some people are not interested in environmental protection, but rather in changing the system.” (dpa / gem)