Bremen Ultras Sentenced for Rioting: Two Fined, Two Acquitted

The Bremen Regional Court sentenced two ultras to fines for breach of the peace. They had rioted. Two others are acquitted.

At least two of them rioted in the Bremen district: defendants in the Ultra process Photo: Sina Schuldt/dpa

BREMEN taz | At the beginning of the proceedings against four Bremen ultras, there was a lot of skepticism: What can still be clarified here, five and a half years after the riot in the Steintorviertel? However, at Monday’s sentencing hearing, presiding judge Maike Wilkens said that skepticism was “misplaced.” Videos of the riots by ultras and right-wing hooligans and testimonies were enough to fine two of the four defendants for breach of the peace. Two were acquitted.

After the incident, the police deployed their own investigative team, searched 39 apartments and investigated for months. “The effort is disproportionate,” complained the lawyer of one of the two acquitted after the verdict. The fact that the whole thing took so long was “extremely stressful” for him. All of the accused were in their early 20s at the time of the incident and belonged to Ultra groups that tend to reject violence.

But what happened in December 2017? After the men’s Bundesliga match between Bremen and Mainz, a fan march took place with around 130 ultras; from the Weser Stadium to the Steintorviertel. Shortly before arriving at Sielwall, just under 20 minutes’ walk from the stadium, the group stopped in front of the pub “Die Schänke”. The reason: They had discovered 30 to 40 hooligans in it and before it.

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The ultras had already noticed in the stadium that the hooligans were “of an unusual magnitude”, said Wilkens. A provocation in the eyes of the fans; “Nazis out” shouts followed. The fans assumed that the police would escort the hooligans after the game, but that didn’t happen. There was heavy criticism for this immediately after the riot, also because the police were said to have been there with too few staff – when it was already clear during the game that right-wing hooligans were in the stadium.

Bottles, furniture and street bollards fly

Instead of being guided through the city separately from each other, they met again in front of the pub. There was probably no direct agreement between the groups, said the judge. However, it was no coincidence that the hooligans sat on the traditional route of Werder fans.

The riots started with a person throwing a wooden bench in front of the pub, towards the Ultras. Parts of the fan march ran towards the pub, the hooligans came out. As a result, bottles, street bollards, chairs, tables and a patio heater flew. Some people were injured. The groups rioted towards the Sielwall junction. While parts of the fan march stood to one side and shouted “come back”, the two convicts could be found in the first rows, the others probably tried to motivate them with gestures.

The court is certain, Wilkens explained, that they can recognize the two on the available videos – based on their clothing. This could be compared with the clothing of the defendants at the Ultras march before the game – all four were there, there are also photos of it.

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The lawyers for the ultras had said during the process that identification based on clothing was not possible – the judge saw it differently as long as the clothing was individual enough. For one of the accused, it was a grey-black jacket, a contrasting-colored manufacturer’s logo, the fit of the jeans, and white shoes. The clothes he wore to the fans’ march before the game. He also shared in a chat group that he was “in the front row”. “It feels shit when you’re determined and no support comes,” the judge quoted him as saying.

A black and olive green jacket, dark wash jeans and black shoes with white soles gave away the second ultra convicted. The clothes of the other two were probably too unspecific, the court couldn’t even say whether they were part of the fan march.

“Turf war” instead of “civil war-like conditions”

The public prosecutor’s office saw “civil war-like conditions” in the scenery and even accused a particularly serious case of breach of the peace – Wilkens prefers to describe the incident as “a turf war fought on the open street”. Several witnesses testified that they had hidden out of fear. Public safety was endangered and road traffic came to a standstill. And the two convicts are said to have instigated the whole thing.

Whether that had an effect or not, whether they themselves injured people, is irrelevant to the offense of breach of the peace. Likewise, that the target of the attack were right-wing radicals: “Even people who see themselves on the morally correct side have no right to enforce their views with violence,” said Wilkens. According to the penal code It is guilty of “anyone who participates as a perpetrator or participant in acts of violence against people or things committed by a combined effort of a crowd”.

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The two accused were sentenced to 70 and 90 daily rates of 60 euros. The judge announced that 60 of them have already been settled, because the investigation and the process dragged on for so long.

There will be three other procedures related to the incident: two of them against inciters and attackers in the ranks of right-wing hooligans, one against the actual thugs from the ultras group.

2023-06-06 01:06:09
#Werder #Bremen #ultras #court #mild #verdict #leftwing #fans

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