‘Guantanamo Bayern’

May 15, 2018 | Articles

At the #noPAG demonstration on 10 May 2018. Photograph: Christine Madden

Bavaria’s new Polizeiaufgabengesetz (policing regulations act) has been called unconstitutional, the most Draconian since the Nazi era. On 10 May, tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged into Munich’s city centre to protest

Storms were forecast, but the sun still shone on Munich’s Marienplatz on Thursday, 10 May. At 12.30 pm, the square fills up – nothing particularly unusual for a holiday (Ascension Day, a bank holiday in Bavaria), when tourists routinely assemble to watch the Glockenspiel in the tower.

But more and more people crowded into the square, bearing signs, posters, banners, even clothing emblazoned with slogans. When the #noPAG demonstration – a protest organised against the new Polizeiaufgabengesetz, or Policing Regulations Act – was about to start, 15,000 people had already crushed in. “Wow! There’s a LOT of you!” announced one of the organisers over the Tannoy. The announcement was met with a roar of delight. There were too many people to make opening remarks, the voice gleefully continued. They would keep their speeches until after the march.

“Like old times,” says Munich resident Helga Kamy.

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View of the crowd at the #noPAG demonstration on Marienplatz. Photograph: Christine Madden

One of the many signs carried at the #noPAG demonstration in Munich on 10 June. Photograph: Christine Madden




Christine Madden is an Irish-German writer, editor and writing coach based in Berlin and southwest France. Her journalism has appeared in the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, The Local Germany, the Guardian and the magazine ExBerliner, and she has been broadcast on BBC radio.


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