Nomad Son is off at the moment on a demonstration. Once a year, the right extremists (neo N*zis) demonstrate (under another pretence, of course) and then a whole slew of high school students (my son included), university students, churchgoers, trade union members, parents, concerned citizens etc. also demonstrate against the horrible theology of the right extremists.
So, far so good, for this is how a proper democracy should work. Unfortunately, or fortunately, a large contingent of left extremists also show up to assure a much louder (and often violent) protest against the right extremists than the concerned citizens do. The left extremists are also there to voice a protest against the State (police).
So, in the end, you have a very volatile situation of thousands of demonstrators, probably thousands of police all converging in one place, and slim hope that all will pass over without “incident”. Protesters, police en masse, helicopters flying above, police buses lining the streets, roadblocks, no public transport, no cars, transform the city streets into something out of a film.
Last year the left extremists ended up on our street in a clash with the police. It was very alarming, because it happened so quickly and there were all sorts of pedestrians around trying to figure out what to do in this surreal situation.
(P.S. Nomad Son has returned safely. He has to prepare for his trip tomorrow to Kaliningrad in Russia. He and some other St. John’s Ambulance volunteers are going there for the next ten days. Amazing. Though, admittedly, the mother-in-me is a bit nervous about him going off to a country we know so little about; and the little we do know makes it sound potentially dangerous or threatening for sixteen-year-old foreigners, who do not speak the language. Just have to pray and also, have faith in Nomad Son’s ability to cope with the new surroundings.)
(P.P.S. After looking at some of the photos from local newspaper (here and here), there was this wonderful huge banner hanging down from the DGB union center which said "No Sex with Nazis!".)