Leipzig, 2020, aluminium, burnt cardboard with acrylic paint, artist unknown
Images of the burning shopping trolley went through the German media landscape as a symbol for the escalation of the Connewitz New Year’s Eve and triggered a nationwide discussion about left-wing extremist violence. The press releases of the Leipzig police department painted the picture of a militant left-wing scene that had spun out of control. Many newspapers picked up on the news: “Chaots wanted to kill members of the police” was the headline of the news portal TAG24, for example. “Doctors saved the man’s life with an emergency operation”, wrote the BILD. Politicians of all parties expressed shock over the escalation. Federal Minister of Internal Affairs Seehofer spoke of “inhuman violence“, the Saxon Minister-President of “left terror” and Rainer Wendt, head of the German Police Union, even warned of a new RAF.
But all the outrage was based on crumbling evidence. Videos appeared, which refuted central aspects of the police’s depictions: neither was the burning shopping trolley pushed into the police unit, nor were helmets torn off the officers’ heads. The hospital also objected: the allegedly life-threateningly injured and emergency-operated officer only received a minor operation under local anaesthetic.
But by this time the newspapers had already passed their judgements with lurid headlines and politicians* took the opportunity to boost their profiles with pithy proclamations.
A debate about the (failed) deployment- and de-escalation strategy of the police was prevented by the reproduction of a militant radical left-wing scene.
Since the people behind the shopping cart are unknown, we have transmitted the 1.000 € to Chronik LE. Chronik LE documents fascist, racist and discriminatory events in and around Leipzig.