Police Raid against Online Demonstrators

18.Oct.01 - In the morning hours of October 17th, police officers broke into the office of the initiative 'Libertad!' and confiscated all computers as well as several harddiscs, cdroms and documents. The background of this is the online demonstration on June 20th this year, to which 'Libertad!' had mobilised, to protest against the deportation of refugees by the airline 'Deutsche Lufthansa AG'. In addition, the homes of those responsible for the websites of the group 'Libertad!' and sooderso.de , were searched. Here, police took away 6 computers and more than a hundred cdroms. According to the search order of the court [Amtsgericht] Frankfurt, 13,614 people had taken part in the action on the 20th of June. Because Lufthansa claims it has suffered economic damage by the more than 1.2 million page-hits during the action, police denounce the online-action as 'Noetigung', and the calls for protests declared by more than 150 participating human rights groups and refugee-councils as 'Anstiftung zu Straftaten' [encitement to criminal damage]. "This is an attack on the freedom of demon-strations" said Anne Morell, who had officially announced the online demonstration on the 10th of June to the municipal administration office 'Ordnungsamt' Cologne. "It is a scandal that 13.000 demonstrators are criminalized, whereas enterprises, making profits from de-portations, can do their business in the internet", an activist said angrily.

The police raids caused a lot of material damage. All doors were broken in the Third-World-House of Frankfurt, where in addition to Libertad, also the amnesty international group and many other initiatives have their offices. Inspite of hints by the Libertad-operator, the chair of the Third-World-House was not informed by the police. Instead the officers preferred to break the entrance-door. In contrary to the search order itself, the of-ficers raided the offices of all the other initiatives in the house. The Libertad! Initiative, which has existed since 1993 and which is involved with support for political prisoners, see their work hindered heavily by the confiscation of the 10 computers and important docu-ments. Meanwhile a software-toolkit for online-demonstrations has been put to the web on the homepage of the online-demonstrators. "We hope, that e-protest in the age of e-commerce will rise" said Anne Morell "and we call all democrats and opposers of deporta-tion to protest against this police-state-mentality".