Where are the Riot Police When You Need Them?

Germany is atwitter over the recent dust-up in the East German town of Muegeln, in which a mob chased a group of (subcontinental) Indian residents of the town through the streets, beating and kicking them, and then walled them up in a pizza parlor. The mob was apparently chanting anti-foreigner slogans, and was trying to break in the back door to the pizza parlor as the police arrived. The Jewish Council warned of increasing anti-foreigner bias in East Germany, leading to the development of "no-go" areas for foreigners in the east (G). These things happen relatively rarely, but the pace seems to be increasing lately (G).

I’m always puzzled by how long it takes police to respond. At football games, there are always long lines of police with dogs, batons, riot helmets, and cameras (to film hooligans) who generally manage to keep order quite well. Any documentary about the 1970s shows police primed and ready to suppress demonstrations with tear gas, water cannons, and liberal use of batons. Shouldn’t there be a some kind of a roving riot squad to intervene in these racist mob incidents before they get out of hand? Dispersing political demonstrations is one thing, but I can’t imagine many civil libertarians would be eager to defend the right of racists to gather in drunken mobs for the purpose of beating and killing people with dark skin.

If I were a foreign-looking resident of the east, I would demand that regional riot squads be formed. They would be drilled on their preparedness to reach any location in their area within 30 minutes, and kept on a high alert during the beer-soaked outdoor Volksfesten so beloved of certain kinds of Germans. When they got a call, they would arrive at the scene with large, intimidating, armored vehicles with deafening sirens and blinding lights, block the outlets, film everything they see, and arrest as many people as possible.

Sure, it would cost money, but Ican’t think of anything more worth spending money on than protecting citizens from drunken, murderous mobs. Can you?*

* Perhaps you could take some of the millions of taxpayer dollars spent monitoring Scientology and warning competent adults against its sinister wiles (see here, here, here, here, here, and here), and divert it into an effective response to a problem that actually damages Germany’s international reputation and endangers the lives of its citizens. Just a suggestion.

14 thoughts on “Where are the Riot Police When You Need Them?

  1. Or we can give up health care and pensions and station “riot squads” in every little town and village in Germany. After that we would be called fascist again by every foreign press and blogger but who cares.

    P.S.: Unlike football games Neo-Nazis don’t pronounce their “calendar of events”

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  2. > Sure, it would cost money, but Ican’t think of anything more worth
    > spending money on than protecting citizens from drunken, murderous mobs.
    > Can you?*

    Andrew, you are too good for this world. There are many issues in the East that inhabitants, and many Germans at that, want to be dealt with. Protection for foreigners should come last on that list. Which is a shame, but we did know that, didn’t we? The mayor of that town had the nerves to deny Nazist tendencies in his hamlet, and alleged the perpetrators to have come from elsewhere. The problem is not the lack of riot police or politicians not being able to have such brilliant–though somewhat obvious–ideas, it’s the many politicians, and part of the public, that all too often deny reality, when ‘our boys’ get drunk, and misbehave …a little.

    Henryk M. Broder sums up the gist of public reactions, when saying:

    “…wenn eine Schlägerbande eine Gruppe von Ausländern verhaut, dann müssen nicht unbedingt fremdenfeindliche Motive im Spiel gewesen sein, in jeder sozialen Gruppe gibt es Initiationsriten für Dazugekommene, und in Sachsen ist es eben die gebrochene Nase im Gesicht eines Bürgers mit Migrationshintergrund.”

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  3. I’m always puzzled by how long it takes police to respond.

    Only, it didn’t take them long at all in this case. Two officers were there immediately and courageously protected the foreigners from their pursuers. After around 60 minutes 70 policemen in riot gear arrived, which is pretty amazing if you think of the logistics required.

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  4. Two officers against a whole mob? I’m impressed that they were not also injured, and were able to protect the Indians.

    And Volker – would a riot squad really cost that much? I doubt it.

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  5. Before you start calling for special police squads to intervene with such incidents, please put things in some proper perspective.

    It is hard to come up with accurate figures, but taking a high estimate, in 2006 in Germany there were about 400 incidents involving violence against people with a foreign background that fall into the category of what in the U.S. would constitute a hate crime. That is in a country of 80 million people, more than 10% are foreigners, immigrants, non-native born Germans or whatever you choose to call them.

    To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.

    To put this in a different perspective: The number of cases of murder and manslaughter in Germany is the lowest in Europe, far below the numbers we see in the United States. Philadelphia, for example, is a city of 1.5 million people, and had around 400 murders last year – more than the entire country of Germany in the same period.

    So: Incidents like the one in this small town in East Germany have happened, and there is no excuse nor justification for it. But I dare say that it is Germany’s historical responsibility that leads to such cases making headlines, not any real threat. Calling for special police squads is nothing short of fearmongering.

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  6. @Volker,

    Yes, but Andrew had a great idea where to take the money from. Germany has been spending millions in the past years to protect the poor public from “cults”, especially Scientology. Only the Enquette Bundestag committee cost 3 Million DM and was the most expensive parliamentary committee ever.

    At the same time, Indians are being beaten up in Saxony and Jews are being beaten up by Arabs in Berlin. Perhaps the Verfassungsschutz should invest less money in monitoring Xenoists and more money on those who really pose risk to the society. After all, I don’t remember a mob of Scientologists lynching Indians in Saxony (or anywhere else for that matter); nor can I remember the last time Scientologists crashed planes into towers full of people.

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  7. Tamar, it’s both telling and depressing that it takes someone with a Jewish name to add some words of sanity on this subject. Where is Common Sense When You Need It? Down the politically correct drain? I tried to, um, touch the subject before, alas to no avail. Repeatedly I pointed to a third of Turkish youth in Germany to be openly Fascist, while only some per mille of German Residenzgesellschaft’s youth is – some per mille too much, for sure, and let’s not talk about hidden anti-Semites and authoritarians, but you get the picture. btw: let’s not talk about hidden anti-Semites and authoritarians among our Muslim immigrants either, let’s? No, let’s have splendid ideas on mounting riot police squads instead. If Politiksimulation is good enough for our governing classes, why shouldn’t it be a good idea in blogland, too?

    Again, I plea to do unto Zentralrat and Islamrat, aka Muslim Brotherhood/Milli Görüs (speaking for some 400.000 reactionaries who find the ways we do things over here utterly detestable) what they -rightfully- do to Scientology and NPD. And no, Mr Schäuble, don’t pamper them for no good reason as representatives of German Muslimhood. If these can’t yet get organised, all the better. Stop do the Milli Görüs’ business of slapping on Turkish people the Muslim label: a third of them are Alevis, others -though much too few- are mere Kulturmuslime, who are all not too happy with that, while not daring to say so openly. Once they do, like Ekin Deligöz, only police protection prevents them from suffering the murderous effects of hurt sensitivities by adherents of the Religion of Peace. No, not in Peshawar, Riad, or Amman – here, everywhere. Mrs Deligöz is a Green MP, btw, but that doesn’t help any more when an infidel gets fresh in Europe.

    Have a Blütenlese of what the press has to tell on the subject, for those who are willing to take notice, that is.

    Der Tagesspiegel: Angefeindet und bedroht – Jüdische Jugendliche werden in Berlin immer öfter Opfer antisemitischer Straftaten

    Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg: Jüdische Kinder unter Polizeischutz

    Der Spiegel: Antisemitische Welle An Schulen – Jüdische Schüler fliehen vor Nazis und aggressiven Muslimen

    And here’s a special treat from Germany’s ill-famed Antideutsche Bahamas for taz readers like me: Die taz und ein antisemitischer Vorfall. Lately, worthy non-racist anti-Islamophobia activists are pushing the concept of Muslims becoming our times’ Jews – that’s wrong: it’s still the Jews, who are, and riot police won’t help as long as we maintain an immigration policy that is suicidal, unlike, say, Australia’s. Andrew, is that an ingenious job programme of sorts you have in mind, deploying ever growing numbers of riot police squads to the ever growing number of national, ethnisch, and religiös befreite Zonen? You don’t don a Kippah, I presume, and you don’t send your children, if any, to Neukölln schools, so you can afford to ignore these nasty details while doing some short time tourism over there.

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  8. “To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.”

    The ‘hate crime’ laws remind me of another spate of American legal insanity – ‘racketeering’. Quite a few years ago the US Congress passed a law intended to strengthen the legal tools that cops and prosecutors could use against organised crime – the so-called ‘racketeering’ laws.

    Trouble was that there turned out to be FAR more ‘racketeers’ then anyone anticipated. The laws provided for more draconian punishment of various crimes – so prosecutors grew accustomed to throwing in a ‘racketeering’ count to apply more leverage on the defense. The laws were misused even in civil cases, particularly divorce cases – throw a racketeering chage at your ex and get a far better settlement.

    That is why I am a trifle skeptical of ‘hate crimes’ statisitcs. Are they real – or are they used as leverage whenever perp and victim just happen to be of difference race and/or ethnicity? Or even sexual preference or sex?

    Like

  9. “To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.”

    The ‘hate crime’ laws remind me of another spate of American legal insanity – ‘racketeering’. Quite a few years ago the US Congress passed a law intended to strengthen the legal tools that cops and prosecutors could use against organised crime – the so-called ‘racketeering’ laws.

    Trouble was that there turned out to be FAR more ‘racketeers’ then anyone anticipated. The laws provided for more draconian punishment of various crimes – so prosecutors grew accustomed to throwing in a ‘racketeering’ count to apply more leverage on the defense. The laws were misused even in civil cases, particularly divorce cases – throw a racketeering chage at your ex and get a far better settlement.

    That is why I am a trifle skeptical of ‘hate crimes’ statisitcs. Are they real – or are they used as leverage whenever perp and victim just happen to be of difference race and/or ethnicity? Or even sexual preference or sex?

    Like

  10. “To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.”

    The ‘hate crime’ laws remind me of another spate of American legal insanity – ‘racketeering’. Quite a few years ago the US Congress passed a law intended to strengthen the legal tools that cops and prosecutors could use against organised crime – the so-called ‘racketeering’ laws.

    Trouble was that there turned out to be FAR more ‘racketeers’ then anyone anticipated. The laws provided for more draconian punishment of various crimes – so prosecutors grew accustomed to throwing in a ‘racketeering’ count to apply more leverage on the defense. The laws were misused even in civil cases, particularly divorce cases – throw a racketeering chage at your ex and get a far better settlement.

    That is why I am a trifle skeptical of ‘hate crimes’ statisitcs. Are they real – or are they used as leverage whenever perp and victim just happen to be of difference race and/or ethnicity? Or even sexual preference or sex?

    Like

  11. “To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.”

    The ‘hate crime’ laws remind me of another spate of American legal insanity – ‘racketeering’. Quite a few years ago the US Congress passed a law intended to strengthen the legal tools that cops and prosecutors could use against organised crime – the so-called ‘racketeering’ laws.

    Trouble was that there turned out to be FAR more ‘racketeers’ then anyone anticipated. The laws provided for more draconian punishment of various crimes – so prosecutors grew accustomed to throwing in a ‘racketeering’ count to apply more leverage on the defense. The laws were misused even in civil cases, particularly divorce cases – throw a racketeering chage at your ex and get a far better settlement.

    That is why I am a trifle skeptical of ‘hate crimes’ statisitcs. Are they real – or are they used as leverage whenever perp and victim just happen to be of difference race and/or ethnicity? Or even sexual preference or sex?

    Like

  12. “To put this in perspective, in 2006 there were 1300 hate crimes in California alone, a state with a population of about 40% of Germany.”

    The ‘hate crime’ laws remind me of another spate of American legal insanity – ‘racketeering’. Quite a few years ago the US Congress passed a law intended to strengthen the legal tools that cops and prosecutors could use against organised crime – the so-called ‘racketeering’ laws.

    Trouble was that there turned out to be FAR more ‘racketeers’ then anyone anticipated. The laws provided for more draconian punishment of various crimes – so prosecutors grew accustomed to throwing in a ‘racketeering’ count to apply more leverage on the defense. The laws were misused even in civil cases, particularly divorce cases – throw a racketeering chage at your ex and get a far better settlement.

    That is why I am a trifle skeptical of ‘hate crimes’ statisitcs. Are they real – or are they used as leverage whenever perp and victim just happen to be of difference race and/or ethnicity? Or even sexual preference or sex?
    —–
    PING:
    TITLE: Massive Polizeieinsätze eine Lösung?
    URL: http://www.orkpiraten.de/blog/archives/344-Massive-Polizeieinsaetze-eine-Loesung.html
    IP: 85.13.129.133
    BLOG NAME: Orkpiraten
    DATE: 08/22/2007 01:37:12 PM
    uh oh…Andrew von German Joys und das Mawalog sind über die Vorgänge in Mügeln entsetzt (wie ich übrigens auch) und fordern massivere Polizeieinsätze. Von durchbrochenen Scheunenmauern, Panzern, Tränengas und Schlagstöcken ist die Rede.Beide fordern eine

    Like

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