Judge backs police breaking up concerts pre-emptively

Judge backs police breaking up concerts pre-emptively
Photo: DPA
A court in Koblenz has ruled that police may break up public events pre-emptively on the grounds that they expect crimes to be committed.

Koblenz’ administrative court ruled on Monday that the police had acted correctly when they broke up a skinhead concert on the grounds that they expected Nazi propaganda to be spread there.

Those at the concert in Sinzig were given an official police order to leave the area, and to stay out of the town – and the nearby towns of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler and Remagen.

Organisers made a legal complaint, saying the concert was a private birthday party and that no crime had been committed.

The first point was dismissed by the judge, who pointed to the cash desk, sale of drinks and entrance stamps on the hands of those present.

The judge ruled further that the police’s prognosis that the music lyrics were going to include illegal texts, was justified by the fact that the music was stopped after somebody shouted, “The pigs are coming,” the court ruled.

Torn up pages were later discovered behind the stage, containing what the court said were texts which were “at least offensive to foreigners”.

Further justification for the November 2008 concert being broken up in the expectation that otherwise crimes such as incitement to violence, would be committed, included the fact that the atmosphere was aggressive, and that many people there were dressed in skinhead fashions.

The judge said that the banning of the concert-goers from the surrounding towns was also acceptable on the grounds that the police were justified in expecting them to commit crimes in frustration that their concert had been stopped.

An appeal against the ruling is possible, and has not yet been ruled out.

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