A secret police protocol documents the use of the major demonstration near Lützerath on Saturday from the point of view of the emergency services. There is no evidence whatsoever to support the accusations made by the activists. Nevertheless, the document also raises questions.
For the activists, Lützerath is already history on Saturday, but they want to send another signal out into the world from their alternative camp for the large-scale demonstration. What will be remembered, however, are scenes of chaos and violence.
According to the Aachen police, more than 70 officers were injured during the operation on Saturday. The organizers of the demo, on the other hand, accuse the police of violent excesses and speak – without further evidence – even of activists with life-threatening injuries. The fight for the authority to interpret what happened in Lützerath has long been in full swing.
A police log of the operation, classified as “classified information”, which was published by the “Rheinische Post”, now gives a deeper insight into the police’s account.
The emergency services document the first riots at 11:40 a.m., even before the demonstration officially begins. When police saw four people dressed in white suits handing out bags of paint to demonstrators, they called in room security forces. “These are then thrown at with stones,” notes the “Rheinische Post” from the minutes. While the officers use batons and irritants, a colleague is injured and taken to an eye clinic. “The police do not succeed in arresting the troublemakers,” is the summary of the protocol.
Almost 15 minutes later, still before the start of the demo, the police assigned a group of 30 to 50 people who was just getting off a bus with Berlin license plates to the activist camp in Keyenberg to the yellow and red danger categories. Why remains unclear. The police recorded: “Some of the people are masked and have sleeping pads and sleeping bags with them.” However, this applies to many of the activist groups.
At 12:00 p.m., when the demonstration march is supposed to officially start moving, the police officers on site experience the next incident. During an identity check, they secure Christmas tree balls wrapped with adhesive tape in a backpack. “They throw stones at them. The perpetrator can flee.” Fifteen minutes later, the police use “simple physical violence” to prevent a group from entering the edge of the road from Landstraße 12 and issue 46 evictions.
In the internal police situation report, there is no entry for an hour. But even before the police recorded at 1.26 p.m. that the assembly was being asked via loudspeaker to go to Lützerath and retake the village, FOCUS noted online in the live ticker at 12.23 p.m. that hundreds of people were leaving the demonstration train and the one that was not cordoned off as well only enter designated RWE factory premises sporadically; the police are also hardly present along the route.
Regarding the activist’s loudspeaker appeal, FOCUS online states that the speaker considers an occupation to be “legitimate”. Whether the call was actually made to recapture the village, as described by the police in their internal situation report, cannot be conclusively clarified.
While the first speeches came from the stage, the police said they stopped the disturbers at a locking bar at 1:34 p.m. However, the emergency services are faced with an ever-increasing crowd and are targeted with pyrotechnics. The Evidence Preservation and Arrest Committee (BFH) uses batons.
However, significantly more people came to the demonstration than the police had expected. While she speaks of 8,000 people in advance, figures of 30,000 to 50,000 participants are already circulating among the activists. With the 15,000 demonstrators stated by the police, they still face at least almost double the crowd; the organizers count significantly more.
At 2:11 p.m., the police observed that more and more demonstrators were walking in the direction of Lützerath. “The police commander approves the offensive use of the baton for a section of the operation,” the emergency services log without going into detail. Barely ten minutes later, a breakthrough is achieved, Operation Section 3 “gives up the pre-designed line and relocates it in the direction of the fence around Lützerath”.
By 2:30 p.m., the police threatened three times to use the water cannon. “The situation is getting worse and worse,” the management report continues. At 2:45 p.m., the officers asked the troublemakers four times via loudspeaker to leave the area around Lützerath and threatened coercive measures to enforce the eviction.
Between 2:25 p.m. and 6 p.m., the report generally states that “simple physical violence”, batons, tear gas and water cannons were used against around 1000 people who were heading towards the fence line at Gate 1 and dispersing.
Although the first “offensive baton use” has been released for about an hour, the police only reported an injured disruptor in the area of Gate 1 at 3 p.m., who is suspected of having a thigh fracture with an unknown cause. “The injured person refuses to provide information and can only be treated by paramedics from the ranks of the troublemakers. They will then call an ambulance.”
Then there is a 50-minute protocol break until at 3.50 p.m. the water cannon is used against the activists in the area of the wall of the cliff edge. With “simple physical violence”, according to the protocol quote, the police take action against the disturbers.
At 6:38 p.m., a “non-female person” is noted in the log, who cannot be addressed. There is a brief concern that life could be at risk. But the emergency services gave the all-clear during the transport to a hospital and suspected a slight concussion.
There is no mention in the log of the deployment in the southern (gates 5 and 6) and later in the western area (gates 3 and 4), which FOCUS accompanied online in the live ticker. Likewise, according to the police, a little more than 80 injured emergency services do not appear here; only the policewoman who got the tear gas in the eye of her colleagues is mentioned. The nine ambulances that the police later reported about do not appear here in their entirety.
Between 6:38 p.m. and 9 p.m., it is said that the police were obstructed by troublemakers when they removed the barricades around Lützerath. “They are pushed away with simple physical violence.” But the entry that most demonstrators would leave after 9 p.m. sounds at least imprecise.
As early as 7 p.m., a FOCUS online reporter had to leave the factory premises, which the police had gradually brought under their control, together with the mass of demonstrators from Gate 6 to Gate 3. We then went back to Keyenberg via the country road, which the police now began to secure in parallel.
And the conclusion of the Lützerath mission? A spokesman for the Aachen police corrected the number of injured emergency services in an interview with FOCUS online, however. Just over 100 officers have been injured since the start of the operation, a little more than 80 of them alone in the course of the large demonstration on Saturday. A breakdown is not yet available.
According to the police, the number of injuries on the part of the activists remains unchanged: nine ambulances left the premises with demonstrators. “No one has ever been seriously or life-threateningly injured,” emphasizes the spokesman. Are the activists lying? “I don’t know where they get their numbers from,” he says. However, the police see no reason not to believe the information provided by the rescue service. These are the cases that the police can prove.