City prohibits FFF demo on the motorway-legal background

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City prohibits FFF demo on the motorway-legal background
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04 Feb2022Klimaaktivisten sind sauer

By Michael Bothner in News

Last Tuesday, the environmental movement Fridays for Future wanted to draw attention to the "stagnant mobility turn" with a bicycle demo on the A3.The city prohibited this shortly before.In fact, the matter is legally difficult.

It's around 7.30 a.m., Tuesday morning.In and around Regensburg there is a lot of traffic.Students are on the way to school.Employees drive to work in their cars.Some students turn around in the warm bed again before the lecture begins a little later too.At the Albertus-Magnus-Str intersection./Galgenbergstr.are just gathering two dozen people.You will go together on the way to the A3/university motorway feeder, cycle from there to the specially blocked A3 and "protest for a real mobility turn instead of a green drive turn" ...

For example, this report would have started, the announced demonstration of Fridays for Future Regensburg would have taken place as planned on Tuesday.However, the city pushed a stop to the request shortly before.

What was Fridays for Future about?

But what was the environmental activist about?Already on 20.January they had registered a meeting on and next to the motorway bridge at the university exit.During the campaign, climbing people should attach a banner from the outside to the bridge.It should be a statement of solidarity for several activists who have been in court since this week due to a similar action in Frankfurt.

In October 2020, they roped off from Autobahnbrücken in Hesse and protested against the clearing of the Dannenröder Forsts.The clearings are directly related to the expansion of the A49 there, which environmentalists describe as an expression of an outdated transport policy.While the campaign in which several banner was attached, backflow and rear -end collisions occurred.The activists must therefore be responsible for coercion.

"Absidal campaigns over motorways are protected by the right of assembly and must not be disproportionately criminalized," said the position of the Regensburg climate activists.In a press release, you explain that the campaign should show at the start of the process in Frankfurt that "such a meeting is also completely legally possible and that a similar action without prior notice is nothing more than an unreasonable meeting".

The city says that

The Regensburg city administration saw it differently and prohibited the action.FFF reacted last Saturday with an urgent registration - for a bicycle demo that was to take place on the A3 on Tuesday morning.The city also prohibited the city.

The municipal press office refers to the Fernstraße Act (FStrG) to our editorial team.In it, a restricted purpose of motorways "only for quick traffic with motor vehicles" (§1 ABS.3) and "for the inclusion of spacious traffic" (Section 1 (1)).For the city it is clear: "Basically, meetings on federal highways (for several reasons and especially with regard to traffic safety) are to be prohibited by the assembly authority."

In addition, there would be an enormous effort for authorities and police."The campaign would require a bilateral full closure of the highway and detour of the traffic for two to three hours." Und da die Aktion während des morgendlichen Berufsverkehrs hätte stattfinden sollen, wäre die Verkehrsbelastung „besonders hoch" gewesen.A detour concept would not have been possible at short notice.

An empty motorway would also have contradicted the request of the demonstration by public. „Eine rein mediale Aufmerksamkeit ist vom Versammlungsrecht grundsätzlich nicht gedeckt", so die Bewertung der Stadt.

Lawyers: Autobahn demos only permitted in exceptional cases

However, the environmental movement itself was not targeting a complete blocking.With about 20 people, they wanted to drive on wheels across the course of the university towards the Kreuz Regensburg, turn around there and return on the same side of the road, contrary to the direction of travel, to leave the highway via the University's driveway.This would have blocked the street for 15 minutes, claims Fridays for Future and sees itself in their right to assemble.

If you look beyond Regensburg, there are already several comparable cases.As the Regensburg specialist lawyers for assembly law of the law firm Graml and colleagues in our editorial team explain, the topic of demonstrations on motorways have been concerned with case law for many years. Grundsätzlich könne festgehalten werden, dass „hohe Hürden für Versammlungen auf Autobahnen gegeben" seien. „Sie sind jedoch im Einzelfall nicht völlig ausgeschlossen", widerspricht man der städtischen Argumentation.

Like the city press office, however, the lawyers refer to the corresponding paragraphs of the Fernstraßen Act. Bundesfernstraßen seien schon in ihrer Ausgestaltung so angelegt, dass sie „frei von höhengleichen Kreuzungen und für Zu- und Abfahrt mit besonderen Anschlussstellen ausgestattet sind" und nur für den Schnellverkehr mit Kraftfahrzeugen ausgelegt. Die Nutzung zu Versammlungszwecken käme deshalb „nur in eng begrenzten Ausnahmefällen in Betracht".

It depends entirely on the concern

The lawyers also refer to a significant difference to inner -city streets."In contrast to inner -city roads and squares, in which the dedication comprises the use of communication and information spread, traffic interests at motorways should be given greater importance, so that the interest of the organizer and the assembly participant must resign in the unhindered use of a motorway."

According to the High Court of Jurisprudence.“The greater the traffic impairment by the demonstration, the higher the requirements for the specific local connection are likely to be." Am Ende müsse aber stets die Sicherheit des Verkehrs garantiert werden.

European Court of Justice: It takes a weighty reason

Among other things, the lawyers refer to a judgment of the European Court of Justice.In 2003 he had to deal with the question to what extent actions on motorways correspond to the right of assembly.An Innsbruck transport company had sued the Austrian state after the responsible authorities approved a meeting on the Brenner motorway in 1998.At that time there was a 30-hour traffic blockade.

The ECJ made it clear that basic freedoms to protect fundamental rights positions can be restricted.In relation to motorway blocks, the judges found that it takes a weighty reason to speak for the permission of such a meeting.This would therefore be given if the communication purpose associated with the event is directly related to the location.One example would be the protest against pollution from motor vehicles on site.In the specifically negotiated case of 1998, the ECJ assumed that Austria had maintained the balance between the right to freedom of assembly and the principle of free goods traffic.

A few judgments from Germany

In Germany, the dishes always come to different reviews.Last June, several bicycle demos on motorways were supposed to occur as part of a nationwide campaign.The common concern, namely the demand for a rapid and sustainable turnaround, should be taken up and implemented regionally.

The Braunschweig Administrative Court prohibited such a demo with the motto “For the climate and the turnover of traffic no new motorways, no A 39 ″.In principle, highways should only be used by motor vehicles, the judges argued last year according to the line of the city of Regensburg.

The Higher Administrative Court (OVG) Lower Saxony in Lüneburg also confirmed the ban on two bicycle demonstrations on federal highways with two urgent decisions.At the time, they wanted to demonstrate against the expansion of highways and for a traffic transition on the A33.In its judgment, however, the OVG also made it clear that the assessment that federal highways are "demonstrated from the start due to their dedication purpose" are not parts.

Rather, they also saw an assessment of the specific circumstances of the individual case necessary. Etwaige „kollidierende Rechtsgüter" seien in Ausgleich zu bringen.The court prohibited the assemblies on the highways, since the alternative routes offered by the authorities were regarded as an adequate replacement to meet the concerns of the protest.

In June 2021, on the other hand, the Hessian Administrative Court had approved a demonstration with around 350 cyclists as part of the action weekend.The demo led about 40 minutes to nine kilometers long over the A7 and A66 motorways near Fulda.The highways were blocked for an hour.According to the Hessian police, there had been no incidents.However, the meeting took place on a Sunday.

FFF complains about uncooperative regulatory office ...

According to their own statements, the Regensburg activists had been satisfied with an adequate change of route, the city would have made an offer. Dass man bei der schriftlichen Anmeldung der Demonstration keine Telefonnummer angegeben hat – laut Stadt habe man deshalb gar keinen Kontakt für eine etwaige Routenänderung aufnehmen können – erklärt der Anmelder Simon Lachner mit den bislang stets „schlechten” und „einseitig kooperativen" Gesprächen zwischen Fridays for Future und dem Ordnungsamt.

Already in September last year, shortly before the Bundestag election, the movement together with other Regensburg groups organized a bicycle demo to the Lappersdorfer Kreisel.The city also wanted to prohibit this at the time and asserted the temporary blocking of the motorway exit there.The VCD successfully complained about it.

… And plans to make further motorway demo

Finally, there were several disputes between the movement and the city in relation to prohibited meetings.This time the time for an immediate lawsuit - 15 hours before the planned protest - was too short, says Lachner.However, one is in contact with lawyers and check legal steps against the city's approach.With what success will be shown in the coming weeks.

FFF ist sich aber sicher: Die am Dienstag verursachte Störung des Berufsverkehrs wäre weitaus weniger dramatisch ausgefallen „als einer der unzähligen Unfälle, die auf Grund des fehlenden Tempolimits tagtäglich passieren und Menschenleben kosten". Investitionen sollten auch deshalb nicht länger in den Ausbau von Autobahnen, sondern in „sichere Verkehrsmittel wie Busse und Züge" getätigt werden".

Meanwhile, the plans for a motorway demonstration are not rejected.It will be further forced, it is said.

Tags: Demonstration Fridays for future climate change traffic

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