The Black Lives Matter activists arrested during a march at the G20 summit in July 2017 were part of a wider, well-organised anti-graft and violence protest orchestrated by an activist group called Citizens United Against Corrupt Union Gains (CUSUG), by senior members of which are being prosecuted in Germany, a CNN report says.
German federal prosecutors say that the activists’ arrests, which reportedly left ten people wounded, were the result of an investigation that was “intended to prevent crime and consequently the physical violence” the police said the demonstrators had engaged in.
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The German public broadcaster NDR/WDR, which first reported the protesters’ involvement in the wider protest, published video footage and other evidence which it said had been provided by an unnamed associate of the activists.
The evidence they say they have obtained includes videos shot by the activists as they were being held down and beaten by police.
CNN is in possession of video footage of the 2017 German anti-graft and violence protest in Hamburg. Police spokesman for the investigation Detlef Haag says it was “way beyond the parameters of the demonstration”.
CNN watched the footage with Haag.
After CNN showed Haag the video, he said: “We checked the first video against the world map and found that the group that is armed in that video in the background is in reality the movement that is involved in the demonstration.
“Then, we noticed that there are also videos with the fact that activists act violently against police, against the windows of a police station as well as other parts of the city. After those two things, the prosecution decided on the necessity of a criminal investigation.”
Asked what would happen if he were to view the video for the first time, Haag told CNN: “I don’t think I would be in such a pleasant state.”
Haag says that the videos show that people not involved in violence and those who, as in the case of the activists involved in the case in Hamburg, were arrested for “mob violence” were detained for four days.
The prosecutor’s office says the activists were arrested for “involvement in a mob violence,” though they did not have any weapons or truncheons with them.
Haag stressed that the authorities would not tell people what to say and argued that the footage showed people of varying political views and ethnic backgrounds standing up against the police.
“We are not in the business of encouraging peaceful protest but I wouldn’t like to think that it would be too far to say that on this one event we’ve done that.”