Germany takes a stand against Antifa’s left-wing radicalism…
In an unprecedented move against violent left-wing extremism, Germany’s Federal Interior Ministry has banned what it describes as the most influential internet platform for the militant left group Antifa.
The move is believed to be in response to violence outside the G20 summit in Hamburg last month.
Authorities informed the management of the website linksunten.indymedia.org on Friday that they were shutting it down.
Policemen stand behind a burning barricade in the so-called ‘Schanzenviertel’ area, on the sidelines of the G-20 summit, early Sunday, July 9, 2017, in Hamburg. Rioters set up street barricades, looted supermarkets and attacked police with slingshots and firebombs. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP)
Security sources claim that the website is the most influential platform for the militant left, and that it is used as a forum by extremists willing to use violence, Fox News reported.
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière claimed the website helped incite the violence in Hamburg and warned of “serious consequences” of left-wing radicalism, the New York Times reported.
“The prelude to the G-20 summit in Hamburg was not the only time that violent actions and attacks on infrastructural facilities were mobilized on linksunten.indymedia,” the minister said, identifying the website.
He also said the site tried to “legitimize violence against police officers,” which he described as an “expression of an attitude that tramples human dignity.”
“This is absolutely unacceptable and incompatible with our liberal democratic order,” he added.
Fox News reports, according to the Local, Germany’s internal spy agency once described the website, which has operated since 2008, as “the most important platform for violent left-wing extremism in Germany. For years it has been providing a forum for people to publish first-hand reports on left-wing crimes.”
The platform has been used to coordinate actions against various causes – as the site’s forum allowed people to post anonymously – and played a key role in organizing the riots in Hamburg, the report said.
Local police said at the time that the militants set up street barricades, looted supermarkets, torched cars and attacked police officers with Molotov cocktails, iron rods, and slingshots.
At the G20 protests in Hamburg in July, groups of black block anarchists burned cars, smashed in windows and looted shops in several neighborhoods of Hamburg during several days of rioting. Authorities say that 500 police officers were injured during the violence.
Approximately 186 demonstrators were arrested and 225 were temporarily detained.
The police, meanwhile, searched the properties connected to the owners of the radical website in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
“At the moment several premises are being searched,” said Thomas Strobl, interior minister in Baden-Württemberg on Friday morning. “This step marks a major blow against the extreme left in Germany.”
Fox News reports that the computers and other evidence have reportedly been seized, although no arrests in connection to the investigation have been made.
Following the announced closure, the extremist website now directs visitors to a “what to do” article calling the government’s move an “authoritarian crackdown.”
It also urges people to spread “revolutionary material and ideas everywhere” and come up with “alternative ways to communicate with each other and the general public in times of intensifying state censorship and control.”