I just took part in my first rally in Leipzig (and Germany), The 'Global Space Odyssey', representing refugee rights this year. I'm not sure if this is how every rally in Germany happens, I doubt it is, I think this was something special that happens on a yearly basis as local news and social media was awash with reports on the event.
I'll tell you more...
I turned up at the start location and noticed it was a street, not a square as I was expecting. There were also a lot of organisers and several trucks lined up along the street. I remember attending the Notting Hill carnival and recognise a sound system truck when I see one, this is when I started suspecting I was in for something a little different.
The plan was a big one, parade (or rather, dance) through the streets for about 2 1/2 hours, have a small rally in a park, then continue further and have a big party at the end.
There were roughly 8 trucks playing different genres of music from techno and dub to punk and Goth (including live bands). It made the whole affair like a travelling festival and you could shuffle yourself backwards and forwards between trucks. I once played something like this myself and my God was it fun.
It seemed like chaos, with people on/with bikes flying everywhere, dancing, drinking and a lot of fun being had. In fact it was well organised with officials dashing backwards and forwards checking roads were blocked as they were passed. Greeting observers and pre-warning revellers to hide glass bottles (which were banned for some reason) from approaching police patrols. Considering the length and size, the organisational effort was impressive.
I think the route was chosen intentionally to pass through areas that had high migrant populations and the party atmosphere was a great way of attracting their attention to the fact that not everyone is against them and encouraging them to get involved. Not everyone understands or wants to be involved with political speeches, everyone understands how to party.
I had a fantastic time and if more political rallies and demos happened in this manner I think they would be far more successful in not preaching to the converted. It would involve far more work on each occasion, but maybe less, more effective actions could be more productive.
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