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EDL – European Democratic Lawyers: Press Statement on G8 summit in Rostock

During the G8 summit, held in Heiligendamm from the 6th to the 8th of
June 2007, a great number of German lawyers belonging to the RAV
(Association of Republican Lawyers), the Strafverteidigervereinigung von
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (association of defence lawyers) as well as
lawyers belonging to the EDL (European Democratic Lawyers) and to the
Legal Team Europa have committed themselves to defend the fundamental
rights of those who had come from all over Europe to express their dissent.

The number of demonstrators arrested during the protests is impressive:
more than 1000. Only nine of them were tried and condemned during the
summit. One man is still detained. Hundreds of expulsions were handed
out. The great majority of the arrests were made without connection to
illegal activities but for security reasons.

Apart from the international demonstration of the 2nd of June, none of
the demonstrations experienced moments of high tension, and most of the
protest actions were blockades around the gateways to the fenced zone of
Heiligendamm where the summit was taking place. These blockades were
encountered with an impressive police apparatus.

Nearly all the arrests were made on the sides of the protests and to
small groups or isolated demonstrators. Arrested were people found in
possession of pieces of clothing that the police retained to be used for
the purpose of masking. At the time of the arrest these people were not
masked but had with them scarves (for protection against the sun),
bandanas or maybe even sun glasses.

The police arrested also those who they claimed to recognize as
participants of previous events. Near the convergence centre or on the
streets groups of policemen would arrest single persons who were
“recognized” by a piece of clothing in particular, others were detained
and photographed, the photos were passed by a software capable of facial
recognition and the detainees thus arrested.

The evidence collected in this manner was absolutely inconsistent and as
previously noted everybody detained was released after brief periods of
time. In fact, it all amounts to an illegal system of mass-indexing and
psychological terrorism. The police was aware that the judicial
authority would not have confirmed these arrests but proceeded equally
with a different objective. The aim was not to arrest presumed offenders
but the indexing of a great number of demonstrators, the psychological
intimidation of the protesters and the creation of false records to be
used in other occasions.

A new element of police activity was the presence of “anti-conflict
teams” formed by agents without helmets and with special jackets to
identify them who acted as mediators with the demonstrators while on
their side there were other agents filming the scene.

The EDL denounces these systems that appear “soft” but that show another
face, maybe even tougher, of police repression. It is true that it is a
positive outcome that only few people were gravely hurt, but hundreds of
demonstrators were lightly injured. On the other hand more than 1000
demonstrators were arrested without a reasonable indication of their
guilt and the conditions of detention were inhuman as has already been
denounced by various associations and by the EDL itself.

The EDL denounces as well the attacks on the freedom of defence as
evidenced by the intimidation of lawyers of the Legal Team from various
nationalities that seriously obstructed the work of our colleagues and
put in danger their physical integrity. Our solidarity goes to them.

Finally, the EDL denounces the serious obstacles the authority posed to
access detention centres, which partly prevented lawyers from assisting
the detainees. The Legal Team have demonstrated in protest against this
illegal behaviour.

EDL – European Democratic Lawyers