28 March 2013

A violent-peace: the IBA opens in Wilhelmsburg

How many officers would you deploy, if you were in charge of policing an event where between 300 and 1000 demonstrators were expected, who, according to the police's own statement, can be categorised as ''middle-class'' i, i.e. harmless ? One hundred, perhaps? - remember, you're putting in the officers in full riot gear, helmets, body armour, metre long truncheons. That must be enough, that would give you a ratio of one well-armed, potential combatant to, at the most, every lot of ten do-gooders. The head of the Hamburg police service, under the direction of Michael Neumann, Minister for Interior Affairs and Sport, decided to deploy six hundred and fifty police officers at the official opening of the IBA  – the city's proudest piece of gentrification – in Wilhelmsburg on Saturday evening. The presence of these six-and-a-half centurias on that one day has cost the city an estimated €100 000 ii. A spokeswoman for Hamburg police was unwilling to confirm this estimate, but also refused to present their version of the costs, even though the arithmetic involved is simple.