It has become familiar sight in Stuttgart, Germany. Anti-riot police in dark-blue uniforms wearing helmets with visors, body armour and carrying batons and pepper sprays gathered in Stuggart’s main park last Thursday.
It was a familiar formation. A thousand police standing in lines in front of trucks with mounted water canons.
But it was not the familiar opposition. School-children, the elderly, the well heeled had gathered among the oak trees.
They had come out in force to protest against plans to build an underground railway station at the cost of at least 7 billion euros.
They had come because they had been given facts and documents — thanks to a well organized and professional internet campaign — that showed that the Stuttgart 21 project would bring none of the benefits touted by the regional government of Baden Wurttemberg. For example, a shorter journey to nearby Ulm attributed to the new project would actually be accomplished through an upgrade of another piece of railway track that was planned anyway.
They had been informed of the many financial and personal links and conflicts of interests between the “Senate” politicians who had voted for the project and the various construction companies and other bodies such as German state railways that would benefit from the project while the local people who had to pay for it all would not even get a commuter train S Bahn line to the station.
They had come out in force because they had read the information and made a rational estimation that the gigantic sums of their tax payer money would be better allocated to other objectives, especially at a time when support for schools and hospitals and other essential services is being slashed to the bone.
They had come because they had not been allowed a vote at all on the project that would take 20 years for completion and turn the centre of their city into a building site, and because they knew that the CDU government led by Stefan Mappus had no intention of allowing them a vote even though polls show that more than half the people oppose the project and the Baden-Württemberg regional elections are only a few months away in March 2010.
One thousand school-children had come to the park on Thursday and their demonstration had been officially approved.
So when the police showed up en masse with water canon trucks and equipment to start sawing down ancient trees in the Schlosspark, they saw no reason to move.
What followed may well go down in history as a seismic turning point in public opinion in Germany and lead to an uprising not just against the regional government but against the federal government, which is increasingly perceived as captive to corporate interests.
The brutality and ferocity of the assault by the heavily armed police on the peaceful crowds left up to 400 protestors injured, many hospitalized including a 12 year old boy and one man almost blinded.
The pictures of grandmothers and children bruised and beaten, of faces covered in blood, of an elderly man with hideously swollen eyes and about to lose his sight sparked outrage across the country.
As one protestor said, he never thought that such a display of naked police aggression against peaceful demonstrations would have been possible in Germany.
Protestors against so-called Stuttgart 21 railway project are well aware of the role the German mainstream media plays in downplaying or distorting their protests that have been going on for weeks against a backdrop of trucks and diggers, demolishing the main station building.
They have created new networks and methods to get information out on the alternative media.
More and more people have been joining in the protests over the past few weeks. An escalation was preprogrammed when the plan to axe 300 ancient trees in the main park was announced.
Even though the heavy equipment and police moved in on a weekday, there were still thousands of people in the park, including 1000 school children last Thursday.
The politicians clearly calculated that a show of brute force was needed to crush the uprising in one of the country’s richest cities, headquartering Daimler and Bosch and other corporations.
But the protestors turned out in even more force yesterday evening, including significant numbers of the well heeled middle class, who are no longer willing to accept that the political decision process has been hijacked by corporate cliques who are accountable only to their bosses.
The intentions of the politicians in Stuttgart have become too clear to everyone: to push through their pet project at any cost, even at the cost of brute force.
The defense shield of civic society has now moved to the offense.
Playing drums, blowing horns and marching down the streets with banners, 100,000 people marched evening in the biggest protest the city has ever seen.
Live video of the Friday night protests show the energy and diversity of the protestors, “flashing sword of vengeance” as Carl von Clausewitz may have put it.
The sheer numbers of people marching forced the police to stay off the streets of Stuttgart and even to leave the main station which was occupied peacefully.
So far, the politicians and the corporations in Stuttgart and Berlin have shown no sign of willingness to back down and hold a referendum on the project and so a conflict is preprogrammed over Stuttgart 21.
The CDU might well lose its majority for the first time in sixty years in regional elections next March. The shockwaves could even remove the CDU led federal government from power.
The use of the word “civil war” has suddenly gone mainstream. Newspapers like “Spiegel” and TV stations such as SWR talk about an escalation to a major conflict.
The only issue now is whether the railway project will become a focal point for discontent all over Germany as people’s awareness of the scale of corruption of governments at federal and regional levels grows and as the middle class reengages in the affairs of the “state” in unprecedented numbers.
People are all too aware that almost every major decision by politicians now seems to be motivated by only one question: how much of the tax payer’s money can be siphoned off for their cronies? How big a tax increase can be pushed onto people by how many tiny steps and various means? How large a budget cut will they tolerate and in what sectors? How much theft can they get away with under the pretext of having to supply vaccines, medicines, bank bail outs, build ultra modern stations and so on?
The same ruling “elite” that is forcing the German people in particular to pay trillions of interest for gigantic paper debts, created by the banks thanks to the fractional banking system and using the pretext of the need to pay interest on engineered, fake and paper subprime “debts”, has also put in place laws for conscription under an EU army when the new and unelected EU foreign minister Catherine Ashton in charge of a new and unelected EU foreign service declares a war – no doubt following some false flag attack by “Al Qaeda” that will be used for world war three warmongering purposes by media groups, Axel Springer, Bertelsmann and Gruner +Jahr.
The corporate straw man and Bilderberg Green Party leader Cem Ozdemir has positioned himself to try to capture and direct the protest away from the Bilderberg CDU leader Angela Merkel.
But once German middle class engage in significant numbers in the political process, it is only a question of time before the Bilderberg group comes under scrutiny and their members and methods for obtaining and retaining power are examined.
The citizens of Germany want accountable government back. And they now recognize, they must take action themselves urgently to achieve this objective.