freedom instead of fear

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Demonstration on October 11, 2008 in Berlin

Freedom instead of fear is both the motto and synonym of a series of demonstrations for data protection and against state surveillance . These protests have been taking place in Germany since 2006 . Among them are some major demonstrations in Berlin, which are considered to be the largest protests against state surveillance since the census boycott in the 1980s.

Under the English title Freedom not Fear , such demonstrations were also carried out in cities outside Germany from 2008. For several years now, an annual barcamp has been held in Brussels under this title , at which data protection activists from Europe and beyond network and exchange ideas.

The events in Germany from 2007 to 2014 were coordinated by the civil rights association working group on data storage (AK stock).



The first demonstration under the motto Freedom instead of Fear took place on October 20, 2006 in cooperation with the subsequent presentation of the Big Brother Awards in Bielefeld . The demonstration, in which around 250 people took part, was supported by nine organizations, including the Chaos Computer Club , the German Association for Data Protection , the Forum for Computer Scientists for Peace and Social Responsibility , the FoeBuD , the Humanist Union and Stop1984 .

A few months earlier, the working group for data retention had called for a demonstration in Berlin under the motto freedom instead of security mania, in which around 250 people also took part.


On April 14, 2007, a demonstration took place in Frankfurt am Main under the motto Freedom instead of fear , in which at least 1000 people took part.

Freedom instead of fear 2007 in Berlin

Around 15,000 people gathered at the large demonstration on September 22, 2007 in Berlin. According to the data protection officer of Schleswig-Holstein Thilo Weichert, it has been the largest data protection demonstration in the past twenty years since the census boycott. Of the fifty organizations that had called for it, the Hedonist International and the Free Doctors' Association took part in the parade with their own car.

The route led from Pariser Platz over Unter den Linden to the Rotes Rathaus and over the Mühlendamm back to the Brandenburg Gate . The artist and network activist padeluun and civil rights activist Bettina Winsemann spoke at the rallies . Apart from a few scuffles between the police and the black block , which u. a. the anti-fascist Revolutionary Action Berlin and the anti-fascist Left Berlin organized, as well as some arrests the demonstration remained peaceful.

On November 6th, nationwide protests took place for the first time at the same time under the motto freedom instead of fear . According to the data retention working group, a total of around 10,000 people demonstrated in over 40 cities to prevent the implementation of the data retention directive for a short time.


Rally on May 31, 2008 in Munich

Nationwide rallies and demonstrations were held again on May 31, 2008, with activists participating in 34 cities in Germany. The largest rally took place in Munich with 2500 people.

In 2008, an international collaboration between several different data protection organizations was established for the first time. Under the motto Freedom not Fear , actions and conferences against surveillance by the state and business took place in 15 countries worldwide on October 11th. According to the organizers, around 100,000 people took part in the large-scale demonstration that took place in Berlin, while the police named contradicting numbers between 15,000 and 50,000 participants. The event was supported by 117 organizations. For the first time, the German Aids Aid participated with its own mobile. The route led from the Neptune Fountain over the street Unter den Linden, past the Reichstag building to the Brandenburg Gate. In addition to the scheduled speeches, a spontaneous speech by Dr. Motte , the former organizer of the Love Parade . Following the demonstration, several clubs and discos in Berlin jointly organized the Long Night of Surveillance .


Mono & Nikitaman at the closing rally

On September 12th, a large demonstration took place, which began at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin and ended there again after a tour of downtown Berlin. According to the organizers, a total of around 25,000 people took part in the event. This time the campaign was supported by 167 organizations and also by bands and clubs such as the SO36 . At the opening event, which was broadcast via livestream , spoke padeluun , Ralf Bendrath, Thilo Weichert , Rolf Gössner and Frank Bsirske . At the final rally, among others, Franziska Heine , initiator of the online petition against the Access Difficulty Act , the student representative Vito Dabisch, Monty Cantsin from the Hedonistic International , the blogger Anne Roth and Silke Lüder from the alliance against the electronic health card (e-Card). The final rally at Potsdamer Platz in 2009 included the Austrian reggae band Mono & Nikitaman and the Berlin techno DJ Tanith , who was already playing on the pirate party's truck during the demonstration .

Sensational arrest of a cyclist on the freedom instead of fear 2009

An incident during the closing rally caused a stir. A representative of the Chaos Computer Club accepted an incriminating video that shows several police officers attacking a cyclist and at least one other passerby and knocking them down with several blows, as various video recordings that the Chaos Computer Club has collected and synchronized show. The actions of the officers involved in the arrest led to criminal proceedings for bodily harm in office . The incident also led to the fact that Berlin police officers should also receive individual identification from 2010 with the introduction of the new uniforms . The police chief of Berlin, Dieter Glietsch , was criticized in this connection after he had repeatedly claimed that the victim of the police attacks had previously been noticed by disturbances. After the victim's lawyer asked him several times to submit a declaration of cease and desist, Glietsch declared that he no longer wanted to comment on the current case.

After the police arrested the cyclist, they reported him for resisting state violence. The preliminary investigation against the cyclist was closed in July 2010. The two police officers were found guilty in criminal proceedings by the Berlin District Court on April 30, 2012 and sentenced to a fine of 6,000 euros (120 daily rates of 50 euros each) for bodily harm in office. The judgment did not become final after the hearing; all parties involved appealed, so that the case was tried again before the regional court. In October 2012, the state of Berlin agreed to a settlement in which it awarded the victim compensation for pain and suffering in the amount of 10,000 euros.


Google Street View dummy , Berlin, 2010

On September 11, 2010, another large demonstration took place in Berlin, in which between 7,500 and 10,000 people took part. The demonstration began and ended again at Potsdamer Platz, but this time it ran in the opposite direction compared to the previous year.


On September 10, 2011, a large demonstration took place for the sixth time in Berlin, in which around 5,000 people took part. The demonstration route ran from Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate to Alexanderplatz. Nina Hagen , among others, performed at the final rally .


Demonstration Freedom not Fear 2012 in Luxembourg City

In 2012 there was no demonstration in Berlin for the first time. Instead, several data protection organizations and interested parties met from September 14th to 17th for a “networking weekend” in Brussels . The open conference had the international title "Freedom not Fear". As part of the event, a demonstration to the Palace of Justice took place in Brussels on September 15th . Other events took place in Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg and the United States. On September 17th, around 20 activists visited the EU Parliament and spoke to politicians there.

Demonstration march through the Berlin government district on August 30, 2014


In 2013, on September 7th, another great freedom fear demonstration took place in Berlin. In terms of content, it was mainly dominated by the surveillance and espionage affair in 2013 . Between 10,000 and 20,000 people took part. Speakers included the American network activist Jacob Appelbaum . The musician Dota performed at the closing rally.


Peter Schaar at the 2014 demonstration

In 2014 the alliance consisted of around 80 organizations. According to counts by the organizers, around 6,500 people took part in the demonstration on August 30th. The former data protection officer Peter Schaar , the network activist Jacob Appelbaum and the civil rights activist Rolf Gössner spoke on the stage .


Less than 70 people took part in a demonstration in Bielefeld on April 17, 2015, which led to the venue of the Big Brother Awards .


The annual large-scale demonstrations are carried out by a broad alliance of different organizations, parties and individuals. Most recently in 2009 the alliance comprised 167 different organizations. The supporting musicians included Tanith , Mono & Nikitaman , Egotronic and Rainer von Many .

Representation of the transparent patient from the free medical profession

Due to the broad alliance, the two large demonstrations in autumn 2008 were characterized by the diverse contributions of the various supporters. In addition to established parties and civil organizations, radical left groups such as the Antifascist Left Berlin , as well as hackers , gender activists and supporters of the techno scene presented themselves .

In addition to the parties FDP , Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen , Die Linke and Piratenpartei , the supporting organizations in 2008 also included data protection organizations such as Digitalcourage or the German Association for Data Protection , organizations that deal with the social effects of information technology, such as the Chaos Computer Club , the Free Software Foundation Europe or the FIfF , various civil and human rights organizations such as the Humanist Union or the International League for Human Rights , the globalization-critical network Attac , the trade union ver.di and professional associations for lawyers, craftsmen and psychologists. In 2008, for the first time, individuals were given the opportunity to sign the joint appeal for protest, which was taken up by Annelie Buntenbach , Petra Pau , Cem Özdemir , Markus Beckedahl and Burkhard Hirsch , among others . Media partners included the Junge Welt and the Berliner Fenster . Demo calls are also carried by around 800 blogs with the help of a pagepeel .

The alliance belongs to the Cooperation for Peace .

Right-wing extremist groups were excluded from the events.

Among others are and were represented in the alliance:

new media Civil & human rights Parties Professional associations
Social rights Counseling, sexuality Religious organizations


Required by the protest alliance degradation of existing monitoring methods, such as, among others, the online searches , the retention or video surveillance , and pattern recognition . In addition, an independent review of all existing supervisory powers with regard to their effectiveness and harmful side effects, as well as an immediate stop of new legislative projects in the field of internal security , if they are connected with further encroachments on fundamental rights .
Another requirement is the guarantee of freedom of expression , secure employee data protection and the free exchange of information via the Internet .

Specifically, the alliance is also opposed to a comprehensive collection of biometric features and genetic data, the use of RFID radio chips in ID documents and the expansion of video surveillance systems .


Data Octopus on September 11, 2007

Typical elements of the demonstrations are plastic representations of a data octopus , the so-called federal Trojan , surveillance cameras or the glass patient , as well as the use of the political catchphrase Stasi 2.0 and masks of the then Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble , as well as Guy Fawkes masks . The demand Stop the surveillance mania usually serves as the subtitle of the events and is therefore often used as a slogan for chants.


Radio 1984

The protests are accompanied by the on the premises of the cultural association c-base stationed Radio 1984 , an association of Orange 94.0 / Editorial Netwatcher from Vienna, Ubuntu radio from Mannheim, RadioTux , mikroFM from Berlin and others. The program, which is produced in German and English, provides a live stream with current reports, interviews and a themed music program. The broadcast is also picked up by several free radios in German-speaking countries and broadcast via FM.
The name Radio 1984 refers to the novel 1984 by George Orwell .

Video stream

In 2008 the FsA was transferred by the Research Association for Electronic Media eV . The video streaming was done using UMTS .

FsA vodcast

In 2009, in advance of the demonstration, a regularly appearing video podcast on mobilization was produced, in which background information on the event and an insight into the work of the alliance are given.
The eight-part series documents, among other things, the work in the action office, the press conference in the run-up to the demonstration, the work of the Bielefeld association FoeBuD , the vigil against the police attacks on a demonstration participant and the debate in the interior committee of the Berlin Senate.

Web links

Commons : Freedom instead of fear  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

supporting documents

  1. a b Thousands demonstrate against surveillance ( Memento from October 14, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) from September 22, 2007
  2. Berlin: Largest data protection demo for 20 years Focus from September 23, 2007
  3. "Freedom not Fear" - Berlin under the sign of data protection: On Saturday was the greatest demonstration for civil rights for 21 years instead Junge Welt of 13 October 2008
  4. a b Tens of thousands protest in Berlin against surveillance mania and for privacy Heise on October 12, 2008
  5. International Action Day "Freedom not Fear 2009"
  6. Homepage of the networking meeting "Freedom not Fear"
  7. Big Brother Awards - A Prize Nobody Wants Die Zeit from October 21, 2006
  8. ^ Demonstration against data retention and security mania: Freedom instead of fear , Bielefeld, October 20, 2006
  9. ^ Demonstration in Berlin on June 17, 2006
  10. ^ Demo in Berlin: Call to stop the "basic rights terrorists" Heise from June 17, 2006
  11. Over 1000 protesters protested against the surveillance state Heise online on April 13, 2007
  12. ^ Protest against the "surveillance mania" Stern from September 23, 2007
  13. ↑ List of participants in the demonstration on September 22, 2007
  14. No Justice No Peace - No peace with the German police state
  15. Extensive press review on the nationwide protests on November 6, 2006
  16. Thousands demonstrate nationwide against surveillance Heise on May 31, 2008
  17. ^ Protests against "surveillance madness" ( Memento from June 4, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Hessischer Rundfunk from May 31, 2008
  19. Tens of thousands protested for data protection at the Berliner Morgenpost on October 11, 2008
  20. The Long Night of Surveillance
  21. ^ Start of the demo "Freedom instead of fear", Berlin, Potsdamer Platz . September 12, 2009 (video; 6 min.).
  22. ^ AK stock: A total of 25,000 demonstrate in Berlin . September 13, 2009.
  23. punch in the face . In: Spiegel Online , September 13, 2009.
  24. Videos from the incident at FSA 2009 on the CCC website .
  25. The Police President in Berlin: Demonstration against data retention - balance sheet of the police ( Memento from September 28, 2009 in the Internet Archive ). September 13, 2009 ( alternative source ).
  26. Berlin police officers have names or numbers on their chests . In: Berliner Morgenpost, September 16, 2009.
  27. The events of 9/12 and its consequences Lecture by Andy Müller-Maguhn (MP4; 955 MB), cf. Min. 44 ff.
  28. Ralf Schönball: Violence during demo: Investigations against cyclists stopped . In: Tagesspiegel. July 14, 2010.
  29. Fine for police brutality on data protection demonstration . In: heise online .
  30. Police blows into the office . In: taz , November 9, 2012.
  31. See of September 10, 2011: Review of the “Freedom instead of Fear” demo , viewed on September 12, 2011.
  32. See Freedom Instead of Fear: Program Schedule ( Memento from May 21, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) , viewed on September 12, 2011.
  33. Stefan Krempl, Martin Holland: Freedom instead of fear: anti-surveillance protest moves to Brussels. Heise online , August 14, 2012, accessed on September 8, 2013 .
  34. Freedom Not Fear 2012. Working group on data storage , September 24, 2012, accessed on September 8, 2013 (English).
  35. Freedom Not Fear 2012 ended with broad international participation. Data Retention Working Group , September 18, 2012, accessed on September 8, 2013 .
  36. Annual Report 2012 - What did we do? Digital courage , June 17, 2013, archived from the original on August 27, 2013 ; Retrieved on September 8, 2013 (section “Data protection in Europe - Freedom not Fear in Brussels”).
  37. ^ NSA protest in Berlin: Freedom under the aluminum hat , Spiegel-Online of September 7, 2013
  38. Demo "Freedom instead of fear" in Berlin anger against private data octopuses ( Memento from August 31, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) , Tagesschau from August 30, 2014
  39. Detlef Borchers : Freedom instead of fear: We are getting more and more. Heise online , April 18, 2015, accessed on April 19, 2015 .
  40. "The State Scares Me" Largest demonstration against "surveillance madness" in 20 years Neues Deutschland from 2008
  42. Pink block
  43. Press release of the Chaos Computer Club
  44. German-language version of the multilingual FSFE press release
  45. a b Demonstration call 2008 with demands and list of supporters
  46. Participating websites of the online demo
  47. Cooperation for Peace, Participants ( Memento from August 26, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  48. Alliance partner 2013 ( Memento from September 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  50. radio. ( Memento from September 27, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  51. ^ Radio 1984 ( Memento from October 9, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  52. FsA 2008: Streaming
  53. Freedom Instead of Fear Vodcast