German Protests in over 30 cities against surveillance
(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar)
On 31 May 2008, privacy activists organized new rallies in more than 30
cities across Germany.
Following the November 2007 protests under the motto “Freedom not
Fear”(“Freiheit statt Angst”), thousands of citizens participated in this
year street actions.
Numerous demonstrations, rallies, information events, as well as workshops
and art performances sent clear signals to protect constitutional rights and
limit the rampant proliferation of surveillance.
The rallies had the goal of demonstrating to the ruling grand coalition, a
decisive NO of citizens to the blanket collection and storage of data, as
as to the surveillance of all details of daily life. The activities were
therefore supported by a multitude of notable organizations and allowed new
alliances to be formed in many cities. This underlined the growing force
developing behind the well connected movement, the work group stated.
According to the German Work Group on Data Retention (Arbeitskreis
Vorratsdatenspeicherung), the nationwide protests were a full success: “We
were able to use the numerous smaller and larger activities to raise
awareness in the population and win new supporters. The responses were
positive throughout,” explained Ricardo Cristof Remmert-Fontes, one of the
organizers of the activities.
In Hamburg, Frankfurt (Main), and Munich, peaceful conventional rallies were
held which received a large turnout. In Munich, 2500 people additionally
demonstrated against the draft of a new law restricting the right of free
In order to depict the loss of privacy, activists in Nuremberg reacted with
an art installation by erecting an entire living room in the city’s
pedestrian zone. In Bonn, the installation “Transition to surveillance”
visualized current developments.
In Jena, over-sized surveillance cameras were set up, while in Berlin, a
host of talks, hands-on workshops and a preview of the art piece “Pigeon
Project” were presented.
The live-broadcast of events over radio, realized by a network of
independent radio broadcasters, also premiered on the day. The recordings
will be available for listening on the website of the German Work Group on
In all cities where the work group is present with local dependencies
signatures were collected against the planned “BKA law” (Federal Criminal
Police Office law). The petition was signed online by more than 10 000
people by 1 July.
The German Work Group on Data Retention is now preparing multiple
Europe-wide campaigns which will culminate in mass protests in 11 October
across all of Europe. “This is just the beginning – we will continue!”
commented Michel Blumenstein during the Berlin activities of the work
German Press Release from German Work Group on Data Retention (only in
The “Pigeon Project” – international artists of the Amsterdam Sandberg
Recordings of the independent radio station broadcasts (only in German,
Petition against the BKA law (Federal Criminal Police Office law) (only in
(contribution by German Work Group on Data Retention – Germany)