• Germany's news in English
 

Flash mobs banned in Braunschweig

The Local · 28 Jul 2009, 14:21

Published: 28 Jul 2009 14:21 GMT+02:00

Flash mobs are an internet phenomenon that emerged around 2003. They occur when large groups of people gather in public places after receiving a last-minute text message or email telling them where to be and what to do.

According to the newspaper, artist Dirk Schadt was organising a flash mob picnic at Braunschweig's central Schlossplatz when he was contacted by someone who claimed to be from the local Ordnungsamt, the office of public order, to tell him such gatherings were prohibited.

Schadt’s picnic would have been the third such picnic on the Schlossplatz in about a year, he wrote on the Indymedia web site. The square has also been the site of other flash mob gatherings, including an April 1 event where hundreds of people “spontaneously” celebrated the whimsical World Freeze Day by standing frozen in place for five minutes.

The Ordnungsamt apparently caught wind of Schadt's upcoming event when an employee monitored a flash mob group on the social networking site StudiVZ. The bureaucrat requested Schadt’s email address from the group moderator, and then got in touch with Schadt to tell him such events were not allowed.

“It made me think of an agency in a former neighbouring country of the Federal Republic of Germany,” Schadt wrote on the Indymedia web site, referring to the feared East German secret police, the Stasi.

He warned readers that the event, planned for August 8, would not take place and that anyone on the square that day who, ”spreads a blanket, brings food and drink, shoots the breeze with friends, sings or dances a tango will likely be prevented from doing so by police forces.”

A city spokesman contacted by Zeit Online said Schadt would have been within the law had he contacted the city in advance and gotten a permit.

Schadt is not the only German to run afoul of officialdom in recent months for helping to organise a flash mob. After an impromptu party of 5,000 left trash and debris scattered on a Sylt beach, local officials are trying to extract money from the event’s organiser, who announced the event on the StudiVZ site.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Police ban on Saxony gatherings illegal: court
Police on the street in Heidenau, scene of recent far-right violence. Photo: DPA

Police ban on Saxony gatherings illegal: court

1 hour ago

Update: A court in Dresden has ruled that the police's decision to ban gatherings in Heidenau, scene of recent far-right violence is illegal.

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs
A Cologne SEK unit on deployment in 2013. Photo: DPA

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs

1 hour ago

Officers from Cologne's elite Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) police unit should be punished for hazing practices they inflicted on new members, an official in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Thursday.

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers
Knut died in front of visitors at Berlin Zoo in 2011. Photo: DPA

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers

1 hour ago

Four years after Berlin's celebrity polar bear Knut died, a neuroscientist has discovered the cause of death - an autoimmune disorder which affected his brain.

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36
A German soldier armed with a G36 rifle during training exercises in Poland. Photo: DPA

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36

2 hours ago

Some German soldiers will be carrying different weapons within a year as the Defence Ministry scrambles to replace standard rifle which loses accuracy under hot temperatures.

Climate change
Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating
Dried out soil in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating

2 hours ago

Heat over 40 degrees, weeks without rain, sudden storms and flash floods – in the summer of 2015 Germany experienced all these things. Are these extremes set to become the norm?

Champions League
Bayern get lucky in Champs League draw
FC Barcelona' Sports Manager Andoni Zubizarreta draws FC Bayern Munich during the draw ceremony for the UEFA Champions League group stage on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Bayern get lucky in Champs League draw

7 hours ago

Bundesliga titans Bayern Munich were celebrating on Thursday evening after a Champions League draw that made them clear favourites in their group. Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach weren't so lucky.

Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
Sitting front of the TV - Germany's favourite pastime. Photo: DPA

Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?

22 hours ago

A new study shows that Germans' best-loved activity is sitting in front of the idiot box - and when they're not doing that they're probably slumped in front of a computer.

This Week in History
The day that 'sealed East Germany's fate'
At 3am on August 23rd, MPs applauded as the People's Chamber set a date for reunification. Photo: DPA

The day that 'sealed East Germany's fate'

21 hours ago

After the Berlin Wall was destroyed in 1989, East and West Germany still had a long way to go before they could become one nation. But in August 1990, the date was finally set for the birth of reunified Germany.

Migrant crisis
Merkel: Austria tragedy a ‘warning’ for Europe
Forensic experts investigate a truck in which refugees were found dead as it stands by the Autobahn in Austria. Photo: DPA.

Merkel: Austria tragedy a ‘warning’ for Europe

21 hours ago

The "horrible" discovery on Thursday of between 20 and 50 dead migrants on a truck in Austria is a warning to Europe to get to grips with the migrant crisis, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday. Other leading German politicians laid out their plans for handling the influx of refugees.

Facebook to meet gov on Internet hate-mongering
Are Facebook keeping a close enough eye on hate speech? Photo: DPA

Facebook to meet gov on Internet hate-mongering

1 day ago

Update: Facebook on Thursday accepted an invitation from Germany's justice minister to discuss doing more to purge the social network of racist posts after widespread complaints from users.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,072
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd