The last few days have seen a tough battle through the German courts over plans by a Left-wing Group of protesters calling themselves "Blockupy" to occupy and blockade the European Central Bank and the financial centre of Frankfurt-am-Main. The city government brought the case against the protest movement on behalf of the citizens and small businesses of the city, and the court has, generally, accepted the arguments presented to them.
Among other things it has raised the issue of the protests against the "banks" being used to mask criminal activity. It has been arged that in these protests the organisers are unable to gurantee that there will not be an element of anarchists bent only on causing injury and damage. This was, in fact, supported this morning when the police moved in to clear an "occupy" camp - and the protesters had filled inflatable swimming pools with paint which they then used to splash all over the occupied space and the police. Under the law, throwing it at anyone or the police constitutes "common assault" so there should be some interesting charges brought there. Then there is the damage they've done to the property they occupied - criminal damage charges anyone?
The courts accept that there is a right to protest and to hold demonstrations. So do the city and the blockaded bankers, what no one except the protesters accepts, is that this confers upon protesters the right to damage property, intimidate workers, or prevenet access to premises on lawful business. Sensibly, the courts have ruled the protesters may hold demonstrations, but they may not engage in blockades, occupations or any form of intimidation or denial of lawful rights of those who are not in agreement with their ideology.
I suspect this may show a start of a change of attitude to the belief among the demonstrating mobs that "anything goes" in making their point. I, for one, will not hesitate to bring charges of assault against any twerp who blows a whistle loudly close to my ears. That is "common assault" - and there is case law to support me!
Demonstrators do have the right to make a protest. They do NOT have a right to deny me or anyone else the lawful access to my employment, any shop or premises I may have occasion to access in the exercise of my rights and privileges as a member of society. And they most definitely do not have a right to smash, deface, remove or destroy any property belonging to anyone else in the course of their protest.
Do we care? Really care?
5 minutes ago