Administrations have leeway in granting freedom of demonstration. Dresden deliberately did not use this leeway.
A march by the right-wing Pegida on November 9 is actually out of the question Photo: dpa
This November 9 was a setback for Dresden. In recent years, the city had, after all, increasingly qualified to defend itself against its occupation by apocalyptists and hate preachers. It is logically incomprehensible why the city administration foregoes its own celebration on this multiple German commemoration day for reasons of pandemic protection, but is at a loss for such a justification vis-à-vis Pegida in order to at least marginalize a registered demonstration.
Administrations have leeway between granting freedom of assembly and demonstration and sending political signals. The initiative "Herz statt Hetze" reminds that this was also used in 2015, for example – namely against them. The counter-protest of 6,000 Dresdeners was "discredited and beaten away" at that time, explains the alliance. With good will and a little skill, it would have been possible to at least take the top off the symbolic appearance of the nationalist Andreas Kalbitz on this day.
It is not really a consolation that this appearance in itself was not worth the excitement. The tirades of Bachmann and Kalbitz are so outrageous and exclusively addressed to dull feelings of hatred and fear that actually everyone can only turn away in disgust. Everyone except the Pegidists, apparently.
The municipal permit must now be critically reviewed, demands Thomas Feist, Government Commissioner for Jewish Life in Saxony. It is possible that the decision of the Saxon Higher Administrative Court two days earlier on the Leipzig lateral thinking demonstration played a role for Dresden. Such granting of an abstract right of assembly at any price is meanwhile being questioned, especially if, as now in the pandemic, it collides with the fundamental right to physical integrity.
The Saxon Assembly Act at least makes a tentative attempt to restrict the unconditional right to demonstrate at a very few neuralgic points and sensitive dates each year. A toothless tiger since 2012, it at least hints at the possible legal leeway.