“Achtung, Achtung! Good morning campers, we have news for you, four blockades have continued throughout the night and are asking you to come and help them,” said a lady through a loudspeaker as she crossed Camp Rostock this morning.
Arriving in the nearest town to the barbed fences at lunchtime, I was fully expecting to be searched by police as we had been this morning at the camp. But as the train arrived in Bad Doberan, no such presence was visible. Indeed, the local shops were open for business and citizens mingled among activists dozing in a park near the central ‘blockade info point’.
Having heard about yesterday’s police hostility – other activists from the World Development Movement told us they had used tear gas and water cannons on peaceful activists we neared the site of the main blockade in hushed voices. But soon the sound of samba eased tensions and we realised that the blockade was not only holding firm, but it had grown into a huge mass of thousands of colourful people of all ages and persuasions.
“Literally everyone has come to Bad Doberan!” I hear one protester proclaim, as a clean middle class family of four pass us pushing a wheelchair-bound relative. And they had. The blockades, which had settled at four distinct locations consisted of stretched out sleepy activists who had stayed there all night being brought cheese, brot and water by their newly-arrived allies.
Passing the ´back up´blockade, recently formed to limit police vehicle access to the main blockade, I come to a second group of maybe over a thousand people, being enlivened and entertained by a pink fluffy samba band. Continuing along the tree-lined roads, surrounded by fields of barley, I reach the third blockade, the ‘autonomous kids’ block, which admittedly looks more like a family picnic.
Finally, several kilometres from the first set of people, I found what seemed the core part of the action, well over a thousand people snuggled up on sleeping bags and bales of hay, right next to the fences of Heiligendamm. The atmosphere euphoric, they munched on jams and jelly sweets, looking up at the police line which appeared bored but amused, clearly in no mood for hostilities.
The many protesters continuing around the fence, across fields of barley and out of police view, failed to raise any police concern. But just in case anyone misread the situation, several cardboard signs had been placed at their feet reading ‘please, no fighting’.
And there the blockades stay. Nearly 36 hours on I suspect there are more people blockading the routes to G8 HQ than there were in the beginning. And what is truly uplifting is that the media is wrong.
This huge blockade is not made up of hostile troublemakers, but committed activists from all walks of life, a great many looking to bed down there tonight as well. With such a minimal police presence, it seems they stand a real chance of doing so.