Friday, September 25, 2015

Refugee Border Crossing, Salzburg, Austria

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The border crossing at Salzburg, Austria, over the Salzburgerbruecke is one of the hotspots of the international media coverage.

It is here that the refugees, subject to the border closure by the German Federal Police, must wait until they are brought into Germany.

From a lengthy discussion with the Federal police speaker, it's a rather involved process they have been charged with and, to my knowledge, with little involvement from their Austrian counterparts, despite the fact that the refugees are waiting on the Austrian side of the bridge to get into Germany.  Numerous volunteers and help organization (Freilassing Hilfe, Red Cross, UNHCR) are on site bridging the gap between the German police on their side of the border and the refugees who are physically in Austria.  The refugees are lined up to be brought into Germany, after preliminary checks, then board large Federal Police buses to be brought to a furniture building for further processing.  From there, they reach the Freilassing train station and are photographed, fingerprinted (if needed), documents checked, and separated, by such things as age (more below).  The train at the station was bound for Duesseldorf, as Munich has closed its doors to refugees due to Oktoberfest.  Additional point of note: the police lock the doors to the trains.

Numerous minors traveling alone were separated out, as the police speaker mentioned they have special needs for travel and require assistance to assure safe passage.

Also of note, and rather shocking: how numerous the infants and children were among the refugees- not falling into the rumors spread around by racists, populists, and nationalists.

I spent several hours speaking with the refugees, hearing their plights, seeing pics of their hometowns and the devastation they fled from.  Additionally, numerous refugees are obviously educated and fled middle class backgrounds due to devastation in their homelands and unending wars.  Many fear the police of their home countries seeing their photos and declined to be photographed.  Some warmed up later.  There was incredible optimism for a new life to begin for them and end the dangerous and difficult prilgrimages.

These pictures (and others not posted here) may be licensed through Demotix

View from Germany of the refugees lined up in Austria.

Mohammed, who fled Fallujah, hopes to begin his new life in Germany.  Since he traveled alone, he has a lower preference to be called into Germany.

This is where numerous refugees sleep at night, while they go to the bridge during the day, hoping to be called to enter Germany.

Train in Freilassing, Germany, bound for Duesseldorf.

UNHCR on the scene.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Radlhauptstadt Munich Fashion Show

The Radlhauptstadt Muenchen (bicycle capital Munich) organization helps promote green transportation initiatives and also holds regular events, such as bike safety checks and city rides.  They also organize an annual fashion show that integrates moda and the bicycling lifestyle together.

Numerous organizations, including the biggest bike industry show organizers, have attempted to hold regular bike-related fashion shows, but they tend to not be successful or respected in the long-term.


Radlhauptstadt Muenchen Middle Ring Tour here

Anti-PKK/Turkish Nationalist/Grey Wolf Demonstration

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On Sept 20, Turkish ultra-nationalists held a rally against the Kurdish Workers' Party/PKK, under the claim of them being terrorists (the Kurds make the similar claim against the Turkish ultra-nationalists).  "Grey Wolves" is also used as a synonym for this rally, as they are largely represented among the participants and symbols (wolf sign with the hand) are clearly visible everywhere.  The Grey Wolves are Germany's largest radical-right organization, with members having infiltrated government offices, law enforcement agencies, and having strong lobby power due to their incredible numbers.  Monitoring agencies in Germany claim only "10,000" as their membership, but this number is widely accepted as either a sugar-coating of the reality or only counts active membership in the innermost circles.  When counting the sympathizers, the actual number is likely a significant portion of the Turkish population in Germany.

The demonstration started peacefully, but tense.  Soon after, known neonazi sympathizer Ramazan appeared, immediately assaulting a journalist, then being brought into the crowd.  It appears the organizers haven't the slightest clue that Ramazan demonstrates against Muslims in Germany with radical right groups, is known a known violent player in the scene, and was only one day before at the die Rechte radical right neonazi demonstration.  Pics of Ramazan the day before may be found in this recent entry:

At least one police officer in plain clothes was overcome by the crowd as he tried to detain someone, just a short time after he was spotted questioning Ramazan in the crowd.  At a Kurdish rally at Stachus in late Fall/early Winter, Ramazan S. allegedly brandished a knife in front of Kurdish demonstrators.

Photos available for licensure on Demotix:

Link to Commentary Magazine, who licensed one of the photos here.

This is another example of how overseas conflicts can be imported into other countries and manifest themselves in other forms.  One may read about the Turkey-Kurd conflict, which has been ongoing since 1978, here.  It appears as time goes on and Erdogan consolidates more power, the conflict will be set to continue into the foreseeable future, or until brutal, sweeping force is used against the Kurds.

Usage of the above photo by Commentary Magazine under "Prosecuting Peace in Turkey"

"Together against terror"- ironic statement

A journalist from Turkey who was acting as a provocateur and photographing journalists and documentarians.  According to the credentials he handed to a colleague, he is employed by a Turkish media outlet that has ties to Erdogan.  He was also spotted on Nov.9 at the Pegida rally and attempted to befriend Kurds.  He also has been associated with defending Ramazan S.
Demonstrators assaulting a police officer

Grey Wolf bandana

Yet another ironic statement, considering the violence in Turkey against Kurds and Turkey's role in the refugee crisis.
A member of the United Tribuns street gang was in attendance.

Ramazan on the way in (in the hood) just prior to assaulting a journalist.

Harassment of media representatives by participants.

Plain clothes police officer being assaulted.  One of the men also reached for his gun.  Note fellow officers in the background stand there, paralyzed and do not assist fellow police.  Just a few moments before, this officer went into the crowd, apparently towards Ramazan S., who currently has numerous processes against him.

Participants make a chain to block out police and protect Ramazan S.
Demonstrators show defiance against police.

Symbol of the Grey Wolves.