Chanting “We are the people” is now hate speech according to an Austrian paper after residents of a small German town tried to block the passage of a bus full of migrants.
“Wir sind das Volk!” is a very important slogan in Germany and especially in Eastern Germany. The phrase which means “we are the people” was used by protesters of the repressive East German Communist regime and helped contribute to the fall of the Berlin wall, the reunification of Germany and the end of Communism. The phrase has seen new life after many stated chanting it at PEGIDA rallies in Dresden.
Now after a viral video where around 100 locals from a small town in Saxony blocked a bus full of migrants with their cars and bodies, Austrian paper Der Standard is calling the phrase “hate speech against migrants.”
The video which was posted to the Facebook page called “Doebln defends itself” shows a hired coach bus full of migrants being stopped by a group of Germans who chant the famous phrase. Two women wearing hijabs can be seen looking angrily at the protesters with one other crying. A teenage boy also appears to be upset while getting off the coach. There were no acts of violence in the 33 second video by migrants or by Germans.
German and Austrian media have seen the video differently, with TV comedian Jan Böhmermann tweeting the video. He said, “The German fear mob greets those who escaped the jaws of death,” ridiculing the locals who came out to protest more migrants being housed in their communities that they had no say in.
People on social media blamed the police as much as the so called “hate mob” for not acting to break up the protest. The police responded to them saying, “We as police have to maintain neutrality in our operations. The blame is really difficult in these situations. We are all human in the blue uniforms, just like you.” At least 13 of the protesters were in fact arrested by police for breaches of the assembly act.
The media in Germany and even the UK has routinely demonised protests against the migrant crisis and government handling of it.
The Independent newspaper, which has recently gone entirely digital, published an article that called all PEGIDA supporters “Neo-nazis” and the author of the piece said of opponents to mass migration that they were “conspiracy theorists” who all have “racist fantasies” and that the attacks in Cologne were carried out by Germans and not migrants completely contrary to what police have said.