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The police in Leipzig are preparing for one of the largest operations in recent years

Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / dpa

Leipzig and »Day X«: The left-wing autonomous large-scale demonstration planned in the city remains prohibited for the time being. In the meantime, however, an urgent application has been filed with the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe against the ban on the "Day X" demonstration. The urgent application with a constitutional complaint was received in the morning, said a spokesman for the court on Saturday. He could not say exactly when a decision would be made. The application will be processed as soon as possible, the spokesman continued.

Protest actions are imminent

Regardless of the ban, rallies are expected in Leipzig on Saturday: According to the city, a demonstration on Alexis-Schumann-Platz is scheduled for the afternoon. It is entitled "Freedom of assembly also applies in Leipzig". The environmental movement Fridays for Future wanted to march in a demonstration from Bayerischer Platz to the Natural History Museum in the afternoon. Another gathering under the slogan "Freedom for all political prisoners" had also been banned by the city.

The police are preparing a large-scale operation in anticipation of imminent riots. Leipzig's mayor Burkhard Jung (SPD) expressed concern about security in the trade fair city in the face of numerous calls for violence on social media.

During the night, the barricades burned

On Friday evening, after an initially peaceful course of a meeting at Wiedebachplatz in the Connewitz district, stones and pyrotechnics suddenly flew at officials from a crowd of several hundred masked people. Both there and in side streets, barricades from garbage cans and construction site barriers burned. The police used tear gas and, according to their own statements, were "pelted with objects" from rooftops.

Most of the burning barricades were extinguished shortly after midnight, sometimes with the help of water cannons. In the course of the night, however, according to the police, "crimes were committed": According to this, several officers were slightly injured, one had come to the hospital for treatment. A journalist was attacked by an unknown person and slightly injured. By early morning, there had been three provisional arrests for serious breach of the peace. "Investigations were started for breach of the peace, dangerous bodily injury, assault on police officers, damage to property and a violation of the Explosives Act," the police said.

In social networks, there had been a call from the left-wing scene for "mass cornering", i.e. larger gatherings, in order to show solidarity with the student Lina E., 28, despite the ban on the so-called "Day X" demonstration on Saturday. "Day X" was seen as a reaction to the verdict against Lina E. and three co-defendants for assaulting alleged or actual neo-Nazis.

The quartet around Lina E. had been sentenced on Wednesday by the Higher Regional Court of Dresden to several years in prison, including for bodily injury and membership in a criminal organization. Lina E., who had been in custody for two and a half years, was provisionally released after the verdict was announced – the court cited her rheumatism and her previous conviction as a result of media coverage.

How the court justifies its judgment

The administrative court had explained its ban on demonstrations by saying that it was highly probable that the assembly would be unpeaceful. In this respect, the city's hazard prognosis has proven to be correct. Above all, it should be taken into account that the mobilization on the Internet, including the call for demonstrations, was also aimed at a violent autonomous left-wing extremist scene.

Even though there has now been a distancing from calls for violence and a peaceful demonstration has recently been called, it remains to be feared that acts of violence will be committed from within the registered assembly. In addition, the registered number of participants of 400 to 500 does not seem even remotely realistic. Far more participants are to be expected, according to the Administrative Court.

Numerous other events in Leipzig

Since 18 p.m. on Friday, a so-called control area has been in force in Leipzig, which covers large parts of the city in the east, south and west. There, the police can stop people without any special reason and check their personal details. The arrival traffic on the streets and at the main station should also be controlled, the police had announced. According to its own information, the Leipzig Police Department is supported by numerous hundreds of people including technology from twelve federal states and by the Federal Police.

In addition to »Day X«, a number of other major events are scheduled for the weekend in Leipzig: it is a city festival, singer Herbert Grönemeyer gives a concert in front of tens of thousands of visitors, and the football clubs Lok Leipzig and Chemnitzer FC will also play for the Saxon Cup on Saturday. A cancellation of the game was considered, but ultimately discarded.