Munich: Pro-Palestine activists set up protest camp in front of LMU – Munich

Pro-Palestinian activists set up a camp opposite the main entrance to Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) on Monday evening. The tents should be up by Thursday. The city had arranged an alternative location at the Propylaea in the afternoon.

However, around a hundred people gathered in front of the university. The police, with just as many officers, initially prevented a rally from taking place. At around 8 p.m. an urgent decision was made by the administrative court, which had been appealed by the organizers.

On Friday evening, the Munich police deployed a large force to prevent such a camp from being set up in front of the LMU. Three days later, the pro-Palestinian groups tried again, this time by registering with the Munich District Administration Department (KVR) – and with a location across the street, Professor-Huber-Platz. “We are back and need your reinforcements,” wrote the “Palestine Speaks” group on Instagram on Monday night.

In the late afternoon, the KVR ordered the planned protest camp to be relocated to the square west of the Propylaea, about one kilometer from the university as the crow flies. This was closely coordinated with the Munich police. The city cited the long duration of the protest camp in the immediate vicinity of the LMU premises as the reason for the relocation. “Sustainable and massive disruptions to academic operations, especially to students,” are to be feared.

Meanwhile, the “Munich is colorful” alliance called for counter-protest. Under the motto “Never again is now!” A vigil against anti-Semitism took place on Brüder-Scholl-Platz, attended by, among others, SPD city councilor Micky Wenngatz, the anti-Semitism commissioner of the Bavarian state government, Ludwig Spaenle (CSU), and Michael Movchin from the Association of Jewish Students in Bavaria. The association had already called for more protection against the anti-Semitic tendencies evident in the pro-Palestinian protests in February.

While Israeli flags were flying in front of the LMU main entrance, the police initially prevented an anti-Israel rally from forming opposite on Professor-Huber-Platz. This standoff dragged on for more than two hours before the court’s decision was announced. According to initial information from the police, the tents for up to a hundred participants can remain standing until Thursday.

On Friday, around 70 demonstrators demanded, among other things, that the LMU stop working with Israeli universities. The LMU is connected to four universities in Israel through the Erasmus program. However, on its homepage, the Munich University continues to express its solidarity with its partner institutions in Israel and Israeli and Jewish students and scientists and is clearly against any form of anti-Semitism as well as any discrimination.

Personal proximity to the left-wing extremist Trotskyist group “Class against Class”

Last week, a public letter from teachers at various Berlin universities caused a stir, in which around 100 initial signatories supported the pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The letter was preceded by the unannounced evacuation of the pro-Palestinian protest camp at the Free University of Berlin. The universities are obliged to “support students on an equal footing” and “under no circumstances subject them to police violence,” the letter says. Instead, universities should seek dialogue with the protesting students. Only then, it goes on to say, can teachers and universities live up to their mission.

Among the now around 1,300 people who have signed the letter are 14 lecturers at Munich universities, nine of them at the LMU, three at the Bundeswehr University in Neubiberg and one each at the University of Philosophy and the Munich University of Applied Sciences.

The organizers of the Munich protest camps had already published safety guidelines for the demonstrators last week. The participants are asked not to talk to the press if possible, but to leave it to the official spokespersons. “Let’s come together as students, trainees and workers to show solidarity with Rafah,” says the current call.

The reference to the workforce is no coincidence. The Munich “Uni Committee for Palestine” was founded largely from the ranks of the Trotskyist group “Class against Class / Weapons of Criticism”, which is classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as left-wing extremist and anti-Israel. A statement from the group published on Sunday said: “The student movement is currently forming a vanguard of protest in the imperialist centers.” Camps, occupations and blockades are mentioned as means of this protest.

According to LMU, none of the groups calling for the protests belong to the university

The LMU management, the statement goes on to say, is constructing “a racist enemy image” against Palestinians. It is important “that we do not allow ourselves to be intimidated by the police.” A student general assembly at the LMU on Tuesday wants to use “class against class” in their spirit in order to “at the same time give the movement greater legitimacy”. It says they want to obtain the necessary resources and presence through the “official” student body to call for meetings and actions in every corner of Munich’s universities.

As on Friday, there was no further statement from the LMU about the planned protests on Monday and Tuesday. When asked, a spokeswoman simply referred to it again opinion, which has been available on the LMU homepage since May 3rd. It also states that none of the groups calling for the protests belong to the LMU and that they oppose the demands raised during the protests.

The Technical University (TUM) also simply said that it would not comment on the matter. The day after the Hamas terrorist attack, TUM was the first Munich university to express solidarity with its Israeli partner universities and research institutions on its website and to take a clear position against anti-Semitic and anti-Israel attacks and protests.

Almost simultaneously with the protest camp, an LMU event on the topic of “The German ‘culture of remembrance’ and its enemies” took place on Monday evening with Norbert Frei, Professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. The introduction was given by Michael Brenner, Chair of Jewish History and Culture at the LMU. He was attacked on the website of “Klasse gegen Klasse” as a representative of the “ideological narrative of German reasons of state”. However, there were no disruptions to the lecture.

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