Flashmob to break Easter dance ban in Frankfurt

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20 Apr, 2011 Updated Wed 20 Apr 2011 12:04 CEST
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A flashmob is set to descend on central Frankfurt on Friday morning to deliberately break the law – by dancing in a public place between the hours of 4 am and 12 noon.

The entire German state of Hesse is covered by a ban on public dancing during those hours on a number of Easter holidays.

But the people of Frankfurt are no longer so accepting of the law, which in its current form dates back to 1952.

“With regards from the Taliban,” said Ralf Scheffler in a recent release. “A dance ban – you really have to let that sink in. You would only expect such rules in the areas ruled by the stone-age Islamists.”

His ire was provoked by a letter sent by Frankfurt City government to all club owners reminding them of the rule. The state law from 1952 says that people should not dance in public on Good Friday or Easter Sunday and Monday between 4 am and noon.

The youth organisation of the Green Party in the state is now calling for a flashmob of loosely organised people to show up in Frankfurt and break the law.

The Facebook page Anti-tanzverbot-smartmob calls for people to meet at the central Römerplatz at 4 pm.

They should bring personal music players and be ready to dance for 15 minutes to their own music, as soon as the town hall clock hits the hour. As of Wednesday afternoon, just under 1,000 people had signed up promising to be there.

“It is not the job of the state to secure the observation of Christian rites. Frankfurt city is referring to the Hessian holidays law. This must be modernised as soon as possible,” said Ouasima Chami and Benjamin Weiß, joint chairs of the Hesse Young Greens in a statement.

“Fewer and fewer people in Frankfurt belong to one of the Christian churches, so I think such a rule is absurd,” said Sarah Sorge, Green member of the Hessian state parliament in a statement supporting the flashmob idea.

“Freedom of religion is not reduced by people wanting to dance in certain places. Those who want to practice their religion on these days, or who feel religiously offended by people celebrating, can simply stay away from the dance events.”

But Hessian Interior Minister Boris Rhein, of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, said the rule was still relevant.

He said Hesse was a, “Christian-western oriented” state and that thus it was, “important and correct that there is no rock around the clock on the most important Christian holidays of the year.”

Although the ban is also still valid in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Greens who are currently in coalition government and who disagree with it, are not going to expend their political energy changing it.

Sven Lehmann, head of the Greens in the state, said he wanted to start a discussion. “Our society is not only Christian; it is also Jewish, Muslim and secular.”

A number of theatre and opera premiers which had been planned in the state for Friday have been postponed.

The churches have adopted a relatively pragmatic argument. “Those who campaign for the lifting of the special holiday quiet on Good Friday are doing nothing less than calling for more workdays,” said Nikolaus Schneider, head of the council for the Evangelical Church in Germany.

While Germans in general are happy to have the day off work, they are less likely than ever to be in church. A survey conducted by the polling company Yougov for the news agency dpa showed that 62 percent of those questioned would not go to church this Easter.

Yet they are also resisting the American trend of giving increasingly elaborate and expensive presents to each other on the holiday. Despite the best efforts of retailers, 76 percent said they would not be spending more than €25 on gifts.




2011/04/20 12:04

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