As if KSC Fans did not have enough problems with the performance of their team on the pitch and staring relegation in the face they are also having problems outside of the Stadium. There was an incident in the Karlsruher Hardtwald between the Police and the Fans of KSC recently. www.stadionwelt.de talked to Fanprojekt Karlsruhe leader Volker Körenzig about what happened.
Stadionwelt: Prior to the Bundesliga Game against Arminia Bielefeld the Fan Projekt Karlsruhe and the Supporters Karlsruhe were invited again to „Zam nausdappe“(Walking or Walk in together). What is that exactly?
Körenzig: We have been coordinating the „zam nausdappe“ for the past six years. We bring together KSC Fans at the Fanprojekt, generally about 300 people. About 90% belong to the active Fan Scene and the other 10% are Friends, Acquaintances or just have general interest to participate, regular KSC Fans if you will. About half of those then take the 45 minute walk to the Wildparkstadion and the rest ride on bicycles or drive. Like I said, we thought of this march before Home games about six years ago and coordinated the effort with the Police and the City of Karlsruhe. The „zam nausdappe“ is an action designed to educate and prevent violence at our Soccer games.
Stadionwelt: That did not happen last Saturday the way it was intended. What happened?
Körenzig: That’s true. After about 30 Minutes we came to the Tennis Courts at the DJK Ost. From there the path goes through the woods and the going is slower because the path is narrow. We saw some Rental Vans parked near the path and the Tennis Courts and that was a bit strange, since it was a Saturday afternoon, but there is another School facility nearby so it would have been possible that there was an event going on. As we got closer we saw some people that appeared to be trimming trees in a rather uncoordinated manner. I was curios and wanted to take a look but that never happened as a small truck was coming up the path behind us with some speed. When it reached the Fans the truck stopped and about 25 to 30 BFE Officers (Beweissicherungs und Festnahmeeinheit = Special Police Unit) jumped from the back. This Unit immediately and aggressively surrounded the group and forced us against the fences of the tennis courts. Totally confused I realized that there was another group of about 25 BFE Officers and several regular Police with Police Dogs behind the tennis courts. While we were surrounded there for ten minutes another six 9 Passenger Busses from the Karlsruher Police drove up.
Stadionwelt: That sounds like a bad movie…
Körenzig: …it was an unbelievable Situation. One of the Fans stated he thinks the people working on the trees were Police as well, but I don’t know that for sure and was focused on the Truck and the BFE Officers. I do know that the Chainsaws and other equipment went silent as soon as the whole thing started happening. It seems plausible though as the Police stated in the Badischen Neuen Nachrichten (Local News) that undercover operatives were used for this action.
Stadionwelt: What happened to the KSC-Fans?
Körenzig: We were all held for some time against the fence by the Tennis Courts and each one of us was taken one at a time escorted by two Police Officers to have our Identity checked and we were filmed as well. They actually made us lean against the Car, empty all of our pockets and patted us down. It really looked like an old movie. I think this took about 45 minutes given the amount of Fans that had to go through this and then we were allowed to resume our march to the Stadium.
Stadionwelt: Any idea what the Police were trying to accomplish with this, especially since they checked each and everyone of the participants of the march?
Körenzig: Officer Plate stated over his Megaphon that this had to do with the incidents after the Derby against Stuttgart, since there were some difficulties between KSC Fans and the Police. The Police in Karlsruhe alleged publicly that about 1000 KSC Fans were involved. Where these alleged 1000 problem Fans came from is a mystery to me. According to the Police there were only 96 Fans at the Hardtwald so I cannot understand the correlation. Our Ultras that were there are all known to the Police through their contacts in the Fan scene anyway.
Stadionwelt: How did the KSC Fans react during this incident?
Körenzig: Our Ultras and everyone else that was there deserve praise as no one became aggressive and cooperated with the Police the entire time. The Fans let them do what they needed to do and sadly this type of thing has become commonplace in Germany. Maybe not quite on this scale but the stereotyping of Fans has reached a sad new level and many “put up with it” now.
Stadionwelt: What are your thoughts about this Police effort?
Körenzig: I am strictly against it and don’t see any way to justify it. I have never experienced anything like this on such a scale and never want to ever experience it again. Like I said, among the group were regular Fans and also Youth’s. We have a U-18 Bus that we offer for away matches like in Düsseldorf or Leverkusen and some of the participants registered for the march with us before we left. Some of these guys are only 13 or 14 years old and then have to be exposed to something like this. That their impression of the Police is not positive after an incident like this is understandable. In their age bracket this can really be a bad experience and especially if this happens to a first time visitor. I have to say there were differences amongst the Police as well. The regular Karlsruhe Officers worked well with the cooperative Fans while the BFE Unit stayed masked the entire time and was very aggressive toward the Fans, even when checking an individuals Identification. Why the BFE had to stay masked no one was able to say. It was totally random and one of the Board Members of the Supporters Karlsruhe had to experience it as well, and he is hardly a violent person or extremist or whatever the Police was looking for in the Hardtwald that day.
Stadionwelt: Why is there no mention of this in the Media release from the Police?
Körenzig: That is a valid question. Maybe they do not want the general public to know how they are dealing with Soccer Fans. We were lucky that among the crowd was a Free Lance Journalist who decided to publish this incident in the press. We also had an Attorney among the group of Fans that was marching to the Stadium that day who is taking a close look at all of this this. Something like this should never happen again, it does not matter where.