Over the weekend, people in numerous German cities demonstrated against racism. These demonstrations were triggered by a case of cruel police violence in the United States, in which a black American citizen was suffocated in front of cameras by a white police officer. The protests were justified: the concrete and current occasion on the one hand and the long-term structures promoting racism on the other hand are scandalous and should be denounced again and again in the USA and also in Germany.
However, in view of mass gatherings in the “Times of Corona”, an unequal treatment is irritating: while the demonstrations against current restrictions on fundamental rights have been subject to strict regulatory restrictions in recent weeks, the demonstrations against racism have been given considerably more leeway in this regard. In addition, there was a massive rejection of the fundamental rights protests in the media coverage. The fact that individual politicians and the media also demand distance rules in the Demos against racism does not change the impression of measuring with double standards.
Racism vs. fundamental rights?
While the demonstrations against the current curtailment of fundamental rights were strongly attacked in advance by the media and politics and were also harassed by the right to demonstrate, this was not the case with the large demonstrations of the weekend. While the alleged potential of viral spread was brought to the fore by demonstrations in the case of the fundamental rights demonstrations, this was deeply hanged this weekend.
But this Text does not call for harassment for demonstrations! On the contrary: the restrictions of the right to demonstrate are difficult to justify in the experienced Form and with the presented “number base”. That is why it is good that the police did not intervene just as vehemently against “violations of the rules of distance” during the big demonstrations this weekend, as one is used to from the last weeks and from the basic rights Demos.
Praise for one Demo, rules for the other Demo
So the Problem is not caused by the relatively large tolerance of Police, Media and politics towards the large demonstrations of this weekend. Support came, among other things, from the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer: “I thank those who stand up against it today and who live every day that the dignity of man is inviolable. And every human being.“The Problem arises from unequal treatment. The one demos experience bad press, police harshness and regulatory regulations. The other side is now mildly controlled because of the documented mass “distance violations”. Paternal criticism of the weekend Demos comes from Karl Lauterbach (SPD) or Jens Spahn (CDU). The danger of the corona pandemic is not banished. Racism must be combated, but without avoidable Corona deaths. Some media also express themselves in this Tenor.
Ich teile den Anlass des Protests voll und ganz. Aber trotzdem sind die Abstände zu klein. Gefahr der Coronapandemie ist nicht gebannt. Es gab auch einige Superspreader-Ereignisse draussen, in Italien und Spanien. Rassismus muss bekämpft werden, aber ohne vermeidbare Coronatote https://t.co/FyRTedoeNl— Karl Lauterbach (@Karl_Lauterbach) June 6, 2020
But on the one hand, even these teachings are still connected with positive affirmations “because of the good thing.” On the other hand, the tolerance of the Berlin police in view of the mass “violations of the Corona rules” last Saturday must be perceived as a gross violation of Fairness in political discourse for visitors to basic rights demonstrations. Furthermore: could “extended families” in Göttingen still be subjected to excessive and public measures for violations of the distance rules? Can we continue to restrict school operations if such Demos take place at the same time?
Administration must not be a political arbiter
A partisan positioning towards the respective contents of Demos by politics, and subsequently also by administration and police, must be rejected: these groups were not called to act as arbitrators in the political evaluation of demonstrations. The differently managed use of restrictions against Demos is an interference in the formation of opinions and a violation of the command of equal treatment. By the way, with this statement one does not oppose anti-racism Demos and one does not agree with the makers of the fundamental rights Demos. Only a relative equality of the initial conditions is required.
An example of the violation of this principle of equality can be found in the “Tagesschau”. According to this, “520 participants” were registered for Hamburg, but then 14,000 appeared. With a basic rights Demo, this would most likely have been a reason to dissolve the event. You can read in the “Welt” how martial these demonstrators were met. But this weekend everything was different, so the " Tagesschau”:
“The police appealed to people to wear a mouthguard and keep the minimum distance. However, this was difficult given the high number of participants. Nevertheless, even before the start of the protest, the police stood behind the action. ‘Racism must have no place in our society,’ the agency tweeted.”
As a result, the content of the Demo is indirectly placed above the prevailing “pandemic rules”. This is to be welcomed in principle. But it is all the more irritating when these rules are still upheld elsewhere. And if other content and Demos do not receive this prerogative and must be behind the “social responsibility unfortunately in the short term”.