We suggest to prepare for demonstrations. The best way to do that is to form a group with around four to ten friends you trust. Within this group you should have reached a consensus in regards to the level and scope of actions you are willing to engage in. That means you should have talked about specific actions you are willing to take during the demonstration and how far each of you is willing to go (e.g. blocking roads, going through police lines, etc.). That way you’re avoiding that someone is going out of their comfort zone and gets hurt (physically or emotionally). If you’re a large group of people or if you’re not experienced it can help to have a „bodypartner“ – a person within the group that you stick to and take care of.
If you’re living in Munich or are in the area around the 27th of October it might be useful to get acquainted with the route of the demonstrations. Of special interest should be spots that are narrow, escape routes, parks or backyards to hide in. While spotting also have a look for „Hamburger Gitter“ – these are specific barriers the police uses to block certain parts of the route.
What you should have with you
water / You should always have enough water with you. Why water? Because it serves several purposes. 1. you can drink it. 2. you can use to rinse your eyes and other affected areas should the cops use pepper spray.
Pen and paper / It can happen that you want to note something down before, during or after a demonstration. It may be the name of a detainee or the ID number of a nasty cop.
Enough food / Spending time outside will make you hungry and you might not be able to get food during a demonstration. So you should bring some snacks such as dextrose, nuts or similar to get your energy levels up.
Hoodies and Windbreakers / To be equipped for every kind of weather you should bring a hoodie or windbreaker. These can also help with prying eyes.
Extra shirt / In case your shirt gets wet you should definitely bring an extra one to protect yourself from sunshine or prying eyes if you don’t want to be recongized. The cut of the collar should be as narrow as possible to serve this purpose.
ID/ Should the cops control you, you should have an ID at hand. This way they won’t have a reason to hold you in contempt for a longer period of time.
Dressing Materials & disposable gloves / If first aid is needed it can be helpful that one person within your group brings dressing materials. Don’t forget disposable gloves to protect yourself from gems.
Sturdy footwear / You should wear comfortable shoes at a demonstration because it might happen that you have to walk or run long distances.
Number of the legal team „Ermittlungsausschuss“ (EA) / The best way to prepare for an arrest is to write down the phone number of the legal team on body parts such as the belly or leg that aren’t visible at first. That way the cops can’t take the number away from you and you’ll make your way to the demonstration without causing too much of attention.
What you shouldn’t bring along
Your smartphone / Your phone holds a lot of information on you and your friends. Sometimes the cops take away your phone because they are specifically interested in you and your friends. Because of that we propose you leave it at home or – if you can’t go without your phone – that you encrypt it beforehand.
Medicine subject to the controlled substances law / If you have these substances on you when you’re being controlled by the cops that can cause a lot of unwanted attention.
Personal Information / It can happen that the cops touch you down and keep personal notes, etc. It doesn’t concern them what you do in your personal life so leave personal notes and belongings at home.
Weapons / It is fortbilden to bring weapons to demonstrations in Bavaria. A „weapon“ can be a pocket knife, scissors, etc. We would suggest to keep these items at home and don’t bring them to the demonstration. Please also note that there are so called „protective weapons“ such as steel cap shoes, or helmets that are not allowed.
On route to the demonstration
Time and again it happens that cops stop and control people on their way to a demonstration. Sometimes they even try to hold you in contempt. In case you’re being stopped by the cops or observe that other people are being harassed by them please call the legal team. A strategy to get to the demonstration without being harassed by the cops is to wear discreet clothes (no Antifa/ Anarchists logo, etc.). If you want to play safe bring shopping bags to store backpacks, banners, etc. – that way you will look like a bunch of people on a shopping trip.
Behaviour at the demonstration
Time and again cops are attacking demonstrations because they believe that someone has done something wrong. It is crucial not to panic in these situations. When everyone is running away it makes it easier for the cops to grab certain people and make arrests. To protect a demonstration against attacks by the cops it has proven useful to form chains or simply stay put in groups. When you’re building chains it is important to stand vertically against the cops – that way it is harder for them to separate the demonstration. Always try to communicate amongst each other and if needed get delegates of the different groups together to have a short plenary discussion about what to do next. We don’t want cops to determine where and how we’re allowed to protest.
When you’re being controlled or cops take you into contempt
Whenever you’re dealing with the cops the simple rule applies: no statements. no collaboration with the repressive authorities. This behaviour will protect you as well as other people even though it might not be obvious at first.
Again and again cops try to force people into making a statement by allegedly stating it is a legal obligation. They are threatening to lock them up if they don’t make a statement or they’re promising to let them go early in case they say something. All that is tactics and making a statement or not won’t influence if or how long they will hold you in contempt. The only thing you have to make a statement on is the information stated in your ID (name, address and date of birth). You don’t have to – and shouldn’t – say anything else because even if your statement helps you, because it clears you from the charges put forward, it might incriminate someone else. If it wasn’t you, it might be the second person the cops had in mind because the number of suspects is usually not that high. That’s also valid the other way around: if you’re confessing to a criminal offense it might happen that you’re incriminating others because the cops have other suspects and your statement helps them find them.
That is why you should not make any statements when you’re dealing with the police. If you’re being charged later you will have enough time to prepare with your lawyer and other people that are affected. You can then think about a strategy and if issuing a statement is a way to deal with the situation. Remaining silent is your right, and neither at the cops nor at the court this can be used to your disadvantage.
Be cautious when the cops try to lure you into smalltalk. This is one of their strategy to get you to confess things. They are trained professionals and will try everything to get you to say anything that might help them. It can be as easy as them offering you a coffee or a smoke, to start a conversation. If you’re insecure in these kinds of situations (and many people are) just ignore them completely and don’t say and take anything.
After the demonstration
In case you’re getting into trouble with the police before, during or after the demonstration and you have questions you can always stop by at the „Rote Hilfe e. V.“. The speaking hours are Wednesdays between 6 and 7pm in the Schwanthalerstraße 139 (building in the courtyard). Especially if you’re receiving mail by the cops or judicial authorities you should stop by and discuss your options.
If you’ve experienced things before, during or after the demonstration that emotionally affect you and you want to talk to someone about it you can reach out to „Out of Action Munich“.