In a chilling extension of the ongoing crackdown against anarchists in Germany, The Ministry of the Interior has shut down radical open news platform linksunten.indymedia.org. A corresponding prohibition has also been handed down to three alleged operators in Freiburg and house raids have been staged in connection with the ban.
The site was closed for “sowing hate against different opinions and representatives of the country,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said, adding that the operation of the site was now “a criminal offence.”
The Ministry of the Interior has now formally classified Linksunten Indymedia as a club and is attempting to block its supporters on this basis — “signs” related to the the alleged association were also forbidden. The writ only applies to the linksunten site itself however, rather than to the broad Indymedia network. Because the linkstunten servers are based abroad the State did not initially succeed in turning them off, but the opening of the homepage is now a criminal offense, according to the press.
In a statement this morning, Indymedia Germany said:
This is a serious attack on the leftist movement and freedom of the press … The background to the ban is the debate following the heavy confrontations during the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. At that time “harsher action” was demanded by different parties against the “left extreme” scene. The ban now seems to be a symbolic expression of this shortly before the Bundestag elections.
Authorities say the site represents “the most important medium of the violence-oriented left extremism,” pointing in particular to “reports of solidarity for the three fugitive members of the former Red Army Faction, Daniela Klette, Ernst-Volker Staub und Burkhard Garweg.”
A connection was also alleged between protests at the G20 summit in Hamburg in early June and the linksunten group. Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière (CDU) celebrated the ban as a “severe strike to the left-wing extremist scene in Germany.”
Linksunten Indymedia has been a stalwart supporter of groups targeted by the German State in the aftermath of the G20 protests, offering articles designed to help people avoid implicating themselves in the growing witch-hunt. The latest raids and repression were predicted by many anarchist observers in the wake of the humiliation of police forces in Hamburg, and have used legislation that was originally mooted to be aimed at far right and religious extremism.
The crackdown has been widely praised in the right-wing media and political circles, though some left and liberal observers have belatedly started to express concerns over the level of repression being handed down.
Left party parliamentarian Ulla Jelpke said while she condemns “any sort of call to violence,” her party still sees the ban as an “illegitimate act of censorship, and a willful cut in the freedom of speech and press freedom.”