„Disarm Rheinmetall“ Protest culminates in a demonstration
The alliance „Disarm Rheinmetall“ calls for a demonstration at production plants of the German arms company Rheinmetall. This event follows a week of workshops for knowledge and skill sharing and actions which amongst others disrupted arms production. A special one was about the commemoration of the Jewish forced labor for Rheinmetall at a former concentration camp.
The alliance „Disarm Rheinmetall“ invited to join a demonstration today. „We cannot stand by and watch weapons being produced here in Germany that kill humans all over the world. That’s why we have disturbed the operation and production of weapons from Rheinmetall in Unterlüß in the past two days and why we are visible on the streets to make our allegations wider heard in society „said activist Clara Minden.
At present, several hundred people are taking part in an anti-militarist camp in Lower Saxony. They deemed direct non-violent action necessary, as export practices of the German state counter both German and international regulations. To circumvent German export regulations, Rheinmetall has created subsidiaries. At the camp activists from South Africa and Sardinia shared information and stories about their local resistance against Rheinmetall’s practices. Wars like the one in Yemen, Saudi-Arabia’s bloody take down on critics of the regime or Turkey’s attacks on self-governing areas in northern Syria and Iraq are examples for the deathly profit of European arms companies and especially Rheinmetall.
For the last example the camp has a major focus on international solidarity, the Kurdish struggle against oppression and internationalist efforts for support. Actions in Unterlüß form also part of the campaign RiseUp 4 Rojava.
Furthermore, the Rheinmetall factory targeted is situated in an area near Hannover which is heavily militarized. Half of the rural district Heidekreis is either directly claimed by NATO, the German army for military use or it is a testing area for Rheinmetall itself. A small but determined movement tries to convert the NATO training area into a biosphere protection area and it hopes for more support from anti–militarist and peace movements. The German state however seems to be pleased to be a hub for military transport and especially NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force. Both was discussed in a workshop about the railway and its military use.
On Wednesday, the head of Rheinmetall was visited at home by activists and a group of critical shareholders, who had already successfully disturbed the last shareholders conference.
On Thursday morning, an autonomous group blocked roads leading to the production site „weapon and ammunition“ of Rheinmetall. „Through the export of weapons and logistics, which are essential for these processes, the business location of Germany, Rheinmetall and the German government is the stooge of authoritarian states. “… We must stop war, where it begins. Let’s start stopping it at the door of criminal companies!“, the group said in its statement.
In the very early hours of Friday morning, several hundreds of people walked in seperate groups through the dark to the gates of Rheinmetalls ammunition production plant in Unterlüss. The joined efforts of over 400 people prevented workers from entering the factory and the production process of arms, tanks, ammunition was disrupted.
The “ Disarm Rheinmetall” camp brings together several information and discussion events that have been taking place since September 1st at the camp near the production site in Unterlüß. The goal is to understand and be aware of history and the prevailing exploitative and aggressive system, to become active together and to develop solidarity on a regional as on an international basis. Consequently, the camp sees itself as a part of the solution on the way to a peaceful world order without oppression.
In this course of thought, there were events inspired by and focused on feminism, seeing and discussing patriarchy as a reason for war. There were also workshops on autonomous feminist organisation and self defense courses.
On Thursday, an action to commemorate Jewish forced labor has taken place at the former concentration camp Tannenberg. Forced labor for Rheinmetall is a secretive chapter in the history of the company. So far, there are no signs that draw attention to the 21 forced labor camps in Unterlüß in general and the women’s camp Tannenberg, now a forested area forest specifically. More than 900 jewish women from Hungary have been imprisoned there.
The camp also informed participants about border militarisation, as Rheinmetall profits from its “defense” branch and thus achieves a double win situation. First, they sell weapons that force people to become refugees and then they deliver technology to block those people at the borders of countries that should be a refuge.
With more knowledge about harm done by lethal work of Rheinmetall worldwide, the civil outrage spiked in a demonstration at the production sites of Rheinmetall in Unterlüß on Saturday.
The future focuses of the alliance “Disarm Rheinmetall” will be discussed after the camp. Intensifying bonds with resistance movements against Rheinmetall worldwide will be part of this.
A short video from the blockades at the 7th September:
War starts here, so does our resistance
Rheinmetall, as Germany’s largest arms manufacturer, is an active motor of a destructive machine of exploitation, war and isolationism. We want to highlight and disrupt this deadly business.
Unterlüß is a production and testing site for tanks, weapons and ammunition of the Rheinmetall corporation and therefore an important focal point for antimilitarist mobilisation. It is part of an agglomeration of military facilities. The Lüneburg Heath was used to prepare and supply the two World Wars, and this tradition continues today.
German arms manufacturers have recently been under pressure as a clear majority of Germans are against arms exports to crisis zones. Rheinmetall circumvents German export rules by producing ammunition in Italy and in South Africa.
Example 1: Under the eyes of the whole world Turkey in February 2018 breached international humanitarian law with their assault on the North Syrian region of Afrin. The German Leopard tank used by Turkey is equipped with ammunition and a cannon produced by Rheinmetall. But Rheinmetall does not only produce the material to wage wars…
Example 2: Rheinmetall uses the European border management regime for a new business model. European isolationism reaches far into Africa. For this purpose Rheinmetall delivers armored personnel carriers to for example Jordan and Algeria. The company also produces security systems and sensor systems for surveillance such as ground and air radar.
For a world in which armaments, war and isolationism are not necessary!
Together we can and want to bring change!
* No spending of billions for armaments and war!
* Fighting the root causes of flight; not refugees!
* Away with the production and trade of arms, ammunition and armaments.
Join the Demonstration:
at the 7th of september at 1 pm
(Lüneburger Heide, Lower Saxony)