View from the ground: Resilient Stuttgart will ‘move on’ following riots

View from the ground: Resilient Stuttgart will 'move on' following riots
Passersby at a shoe store in Stuttgart on Sunday night following the riots. Photo: DPA
Stuttgart local Michael Stuchbery shares his views on the violent Saturday rioting which shocked the country, and led to condemnation from politicians including Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Let's be clear from the outset: What happened in Stuttgart in the early hours of Sunday morning was a terrible thing. Shops and property were damaged in rioting, and nineteen police were injured. 

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany as hundreds run riot in Stuttgart

Then again, it wasn't the start of the race war, or #BlackLivesMatter agitation so many on the fringes desperately wanted it to be. 

Over the course of Sunday, reports began to solidify and we had a better idea of what happened. During a police crackdown on the selling and smoking of cannabis on Schlossplatz, violence erupted. Young men began to attack police, throwing bottles and later, smashing store windows. 

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'Create, don't destroy'

The city and police were swift to condemn the violence, and judging by the reactions of Stuttgarters as I walked down Konigstraße Sunday afternoon, so did the vast majority of locals – including those with an “Migrationshintergrund' (immigrat background).

The damage was quickly dealt with two. The four or five shops that I noted had been targeted had been boarded up, glass swept into neat piles.

Someone had taped 'Create, don't destroy' across many of these. Police were present, but not in especially great numbers, and certainly not in the tactical riot gear they'd been wearing the night before. 

A shop with a 'Create, don't destroy' sign on Monday. Photo: DPA

With more evidence emerging, it appears what happened was a failure on a number of fronts. With the coronavirus pandemic shutting most bars and clubs, a lot of young people have moved their partying outside.

Furthermore, the lockdown and economic turbulence have led to increased tensions – tempers are flaring. The city and the police in particular are still adjusting to this change in situation, and quite understandably. 

A resilient place

Lessons will be learned, and Stuttgart will move on. It's a resilient place, and it's also an open, welcoming one. As the home of Bosch, Daimler, Porsche and many other iconic companies, it has to be.

Stuttgarters are fiercely proud of the '0711' – the city's nickname taken from its area code – and a great deal of work will be done to make sure it doesn't happen again. 

What is dismaying is seeing how the event has already been spun by the Far Right, both locally and globally. Never mind that half those arrested were white Germans, the riot is being spun as a failure of 'diversity' or proof that migrants can't integrate. 

I'm going to be real here: compared to what I have seen in the centre of English towns on a Sunday night, or in some American cities after a football win, Stuttgart's riot struggles to register. It simply wasn't on the same scale as what we're seeing around the world. 

Perhaps the thing about Sunday morning's violence that is so shocking, is that it happened in the first place. It's simply not something that happens around here – previous protests against the notorious Stuttgart 21 rail project aside.

READ ALSO: Stuttgart 21 rail project to cost an extra billion euros

That's not to say that the city is perfect, but it does seem to work in a way that many don't. 

Today, I'll probably head down to Schlossplatz to have a coffee and watch Stuttgarters do their thing. It's pretty much a hobby around here, people watching.

The city will pick itself up and move on, and I'll enjoy my place, watching it all pass by. 


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